Make us your home page
Instagram

New data points to more hiring, greater exports

WASHINGTON — The outlook for the U.S. economy brightened a little Thursday after new data pointed to improvement in hiring and greater exports.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week fell by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 361,000, the Labor Department said. Economists noted that the level suggests the modest job creation in July could carry over into August.

Also, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $42.9 billion in June from $48 billion in May, the Commerce Department said, the lowest level in 18 months. The drop was largely because of cheaper oil imports. But exports also rose to a record-high $185 billion, an encouraging sign at a time when global growth has slowed. U.S. companies even sold more goods in Europe, despite the region's ongoing financial crisis.

Some economists revised their growth forecasts higher for the April-June quarter after seeing the better trade data. A smaller trade deficit acts as less of a drag on growth because it means the United States is spending less on foreign-made products and is taking in more from sales of U.S.-made goods.

The economy is looking more resilient after faltering in the spring.

Employers added 163,000 jobs in July, the biggest increase since February. From April through June, employers had created a lackluster 73,000 jobs a month, not enough to keep up with a rising population.

Unemployment claims had averaged 385,000 a week in June before the numbers were muddied last month by seasonal factors related to temporary summertime layoffs in the auto industry.

The seasonal distortions had faded by last week, providing a clearer picture of a slightly improved job market.

"The clear decline since June provides some corroboration of the better-than-expected payrolls reading," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. "In short, encouraging data for the recovery."

Economists are worried that slower overseas growth will eventually reduce demand for U.S. exports. About one-fifth of U.S. exports go to Europe, which is in the third year of a financial crisis.

"It is surely only a matter of time before a deep recession in the eurozone starts to take a greater toll on U.S. exports," said Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics. So far, that hasn't happened. Exports to the 27-nation European Union grew 1.7 percent in June.

New data points to more hiring, greater exports 08/09/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Do you want Walmart in your home when you're not?

    Retail

    Delivery workers who drop off Walmart groceries may soon also bring them into your kitchen and unload them into your refrigerator, even if you're not home.

    Delivery workers who drop off Walmart groceries may soon also bring them into your kitchen and unload them into your refrigerator, even if you're not home.
[ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times file photo]

  2. Trumps travel ban to be replaced by restrictions tailored to certain countries

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, the New York Times reports, citing officials familiar with the plans.

    President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans said Friday. The new restrictions, aimed at preventing security threats from entering the United States, could go into effect Sunday after the conclusion of a 90-day policy review undertaken as part of the administration's original travel ban. Though the restrictions would differ for each country, people living in the targeted nations could be prevented from traveling to the United States or could face increased scrutiny as they seek to obtain a visa. [Associated Press]
  3. In dollars: How valuable are Florida's university football programs?

    Business

    The University of Florida football program is valued in a new study at $682 million, making it the most valuable university team in the state but still worth far less than several college programs topping $1 billion. Four years ago, UF's program was valued at just under $600 million.

    The University of Florida football program is valued at  $682 million, making it the most valuable by far in the Sunshine State. Pictured are UF cheerleaders leading the crowd in a Gator cheer on Clearwater Beach last December during the Outback Bowl Beach Day on Clearwater Beach. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  4. After 22 years, it's last call for beloved Ybor venue New World Brewery

    Music & Concerts

    YBOR CITY — Steve Bird spreads his tools across a patio table. He has awnings to unbolt and paraphernalia to unpry, from the busted Bop City neon by the stage to the Simpsons "El Duffo o Muerte" mural in the courtyard. He'll uproot a fountain and dismantle a roof and attempt to keep his bar intact. The …

    Various decor and memorabilia fill the walls and shelves at New World Brewery in Ybor City.
Long time music venue and hangout New World Brewery in Ybor City will be closing it's doors and moving locations. Patrons enjoy one of the last events before New World Brewery changes its location to Busch Blvd in Tampa.  [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Florida bought more Pasta Passes from Olive Garden than almost any other state

    Food & Dining

    Floridians would like their bowls of pasta to never, ever end.

    Florida was the No. 2 state with the largest number of Olive Garden Pasta Pass purchases, an unlimited pasta pass for $100. Photo courtesy Olive Garden.