New weekly jobless claims drop by 19,000; May durable goods orders down, too
The number of new jobless claims filed last week fell by 19,000 to 457,000, the Labor Department reported moments ago, in line with expectations.
The number of continuing claims remains near 4.5 million.
The official U.S. unemployment rate for May is 9.7 percent. The June number comes out next Friday and forecasters expect it to remain unchanged at 9.7 percent.
Economists say that it's hard for the economy to start creating a meaningful number of new jobs until the weekly jobless claims number gets down into the low 400,000s or upper 300,000s and stays there.
"Bottom line, it was good to see the drop off in claims following last weeks spike but the absolute level still remains high and points to a still sluggish labor market," writes Miller Tabak equity strategist Peter Boockvar. "The Gulf mess hasn't yet shown up in the data as the Labor Dept reported that for the week ended June 12th, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama actually had declines in initial claims filings."
In other data released moments ago, May durable goods orders fell 1.1 percent compared with April, when they rose 3 percent.
If you remove the transportation sector from durable goods orders -- this includes sales of everything from airplanes to cars -- the May number was up 0.9 percent.
June 24, 2010; 8:48 AM ET
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