Jobless claims across the US have fallen to their lowest level in more than four and a half years, according to a Labor Department report published Thursday.
In what could prove a major boon for President Obama with the presidential election just one month away, the new government data reveals that the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits last week dropped by 30,000, resulting in jobless claims reaching their lowest point in almost half a decade.
Brian Kim, a currency strategist at RBS Securities in Stamford, Connecticut, told Reuters:
“The overall trend seems to be that the labor market is improving.”
According to a Labor Department analyst, seasonal factors had been expected to influence a sharp increase in claims last week, a typical occurrence for the first week of a new quarter. However, unadjusted claims rose far less than expected, which led to a significant decrease in the seasonally adjusted figure.
Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan, told Reuters:
“We will likely see some payback in the claims data reported next week. But through this potential volatility, it does look like the trend in the claims is improving somewhat.”
However, while the jobless claims data will have boosted the Obama camp, a second report released Thursday suggested weaker US and global demand. According to the report, the trade deficit expanded to $44.2 billion in August as goods exports fell for the fifth consecutive month.
The latest fall in jobless claims comes a fortnight after another notable decrease at the end of September. To what degree do you believe this could alter the course of November’s presidential election?