Bloomberg: The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level since April, a sign weakness in the labor market may be starting to abate.
Applications for jobless benefits decreased 22,000 in the week ended July 9 to 405,000, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 415,000 claims … The data included fewer layoffs in the auto industry than typical this time of the year….
A sustained reduction in firings is a first step toward a pickup in hiring after employers in June added the fewest workers in nine months and the jobless rate rose. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday that “disappointing” job growth in the last two months was due to temporary effects, such as high fuel costs and delayed parts shipments from Japan after the March earthquake and tsunami.
“The claims numbers suggests a positive development,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities. “Part of what’s going on is that in the auto sector a number of factories took their normal seasonal downturn early since a lot of them weren’t able to get parts back in May. They took their hiatus early.”