WASHINGTON (5/10/13)--Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to the lowest level in nearly five-and-a-half years, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Last week's decline is a sign that employers have sufficient confidence to keep workers on their payrolls and indicates the resilience of the labor market amid fiscal austerity (Bloomberg.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Moody's Economy.com May 9).
Claims decreased 4,000--to 323,000--in the week ended May 4--the fewest since January 2008--Labor Department figures indicated. Economists had forecast 335,000 claims for the week, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Also, the four-week moving average of initial jobless claims--which smoothes weekly volatility--dropped 6,250--to 336,750--on a seasonally adjusted basis for last week. That was the lowest level since November 2007--before the recession, the Journal said.
With employers relying on existing staff to keep pace with consumer demand, job dismissals fell in 2013, Bloomberg said.
More gains in the labor market are dependent on a pick-up in hiring, which would provide work for some of 11.7 million unemployed U.S. citizens and bolster consumer spending, Bloomberg said.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (5/10/13)--U.S. consumers are spending about 9% more than they did four years ago, according to a new survey by Intuit Inc., a provider of business and financial-management solutions for small and midsized businesses including credit unions.
After a prolonged lull following the 2008 recession's historic spending lows, consumers are spending--with gasoline, gift and healthcare purchases increasing significantly, said Intuit. Also, the biggest spenders are men.
The Intuit Consumer Spending Index findings are based on data from Mint.com, Intuit's online and mobile personal finance software.
The key takeaway is that U.S. consumers are rebounding, Intuit said. The average household spent roughly $4,220 per month in the first three months of 2013, compared with $3,870 during the same period in 2009.
The most dramatic increases were reported in Arkansas and the District of Columbia--up 34% and 30% respectively--with the District of Columbia also spending the most per household this year at $5,144 a month. Conversely, North and South Carolina each saw spending decrease by 3%.
The Intuit Consumer Spending Index is a report that offers a near real-time view of spending, rather than surveys of what people say they spend. The index reflects the average American household's monthly spending by age, income level, state and more.