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Jobless claims unchanged for week ending May 12

The number of Americans making initial claims for jobless benefits last week was unchanged from a week before, staying steady at 370,000, but the number of people receiving unemployment compensation rose, the Labor Department announced this morning.

Economists for Reuters expected jobless claims to fall to 365,000. The government added 18,000 people to unemployment benefit rolls, bringing the total to 3.27 million. 

“This is just a steady moving along; claims are not getting worse, at least,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, in an interview with Bloomberg. “We need to see more hiring. We don’t see that happening yet.” 

In order to help bring the unemployment rate down, the Federal Reserve is attempting to keep the interest rate around 0 percent and expects the unemployment rate to drop to 7.8 percent by the last three months of the year.

The report today had little effect on the stock market, according to Bloomberg, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up only 0.1 percent. Moody’s Investors Service Inc. announced that it will downgrade Spanish banks’ credit ratings on Thursday, which is expected to have a greater effect on the market.

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