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Reports: Unemployment benefits up, trade deficit down


Applications for unemployment benefits rose by 3,500 to 445,000 last week, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The four-week moving average of new claims rose by 5,500, leading experts to believe it will still take a lot of work to bring the jobless rate down, even though unemployment applications have decreased since a two-year high of 650,000 in April 2009.

“The jobless number highlights the patchy recovery we’ve seen in the job market and reinforces that it will be a slow process bringing down the jobless rate,” said Omer Esiner, a market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange Inc. in Washington D.C., in an interview with Reuters.

A separate report from the U.S. Commerce Department showed promising news, as the U.S. trade deficit shrank by 0.3 percent to $38.3 billion in November.

U.S. exports climbed 17 percent from last January through November compared with the same period in 2009, according to Bloomberg. Wells Fargo Securities LLC global economist Jay Bryson told Bloomberg that exports provide a significant boost to economic growth in the fourth quarter because of improving conditions in the rest of the world.

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