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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Inflation Up, New Jobless Claims Down to Lowest Level Since Jan.

Inflation rose 0.2 percent last month, slightly more than expected, and new jobless claims fell 10,000 to 514,000, in a raft of economic data out moments ago.

It was the lowest number of new jobless claims since January.

Also, continuing claims -- that's for out-of-work folks who continue to be unable to find a job -- dropped last week to 5.99 million from 6.06 million the week before.

The official unemployment rate is 9.8 percent, but it climbs closer to 18 percent if you include people who've given up looking for work, those working part time who want to work full time and everybody else who should be working full time but is not.

Today's news suggests that unemployment may be leveling off. Forecasters expect the rate to crest above 10 percent and hang there for some time.

Core inflation -- if you remove energy and other volatile costs -- was also up 0.2 percent. Forecasters expected inflation to rise 0.1 percent.

A little healthy inflation is not a bad thing to stave off fears of deflation, which means falling prices and falling wages, and that leads to widespread economic contraction.

In earnings news this morning, investment bank Goldman Sachs beat expectations for third-quarter earnings, thanks to big bond-trading profits.

The company earned $3.03 billion in the quarter, up from $845 million in the third quarter of 2008.

This follows J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s better-than-expected earnings released yesterday, which helped push the Dow above 10,000 for the first time in a year. Troubled Bank of America is set to report tomorrow.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  October 15, 2009; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, inflation, jobless claims  
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