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Market News (01/11/2013)
MADISON, Wis. (1/11/13)

  • Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, an indication that labor market improvement still is uneven. However, the number of workers filing continuing claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in more than four years (Bloomberg.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Moody's Economy.com Jan. 10). Initial claims increased 4,000--to 371,000--in the week ended Jan. 5, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had forecast a decline to 367,000, according to a Bloomberg survey. Continuing claims for unemployment benefits--those issued to workers for more than a week--decreased 127,000--to 3.109 million--the lowest level since July 2008. Claims have remained in a fairly stable range, with the key factor not being job cuts as much as it is hiring, Michael Hanson, a senior U.S economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York, told Bloomberg. Although hiring is slowly moving forward, it needs to pick up to engender quicker economic growth, he added. In a related matter, the number of job openings in November remained at roughly the same as October--3.7 million, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Moody's Economy.com Jan. 10) …
  • As more citizens prepared to lose a larger percentage of their pay to taxes, U.S. consumer confidence slid last week to the lowest level in a month, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com Jan. 10). The index dropped to -34.4 for the week ended Jan. 6 from -31.8 the prior week--the largest one-week decline since August. All three subcomponents of the gauge--personal finance, perceptions over the buying climate and views on the state of the economy--lost ground. Paychecks will be lighter after Congress agreed last week it will allow the payroll tax that finances Social Security benefits to go back to its original 6.2% of pay, from 4.2 % …  


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