US jobless claims fall to 4,57,000

Written by Reuters | Washington | Updated: Aug 1 2010, 04:41am hrs
New US claims for unemployment benefits slipped last week, but stayed at a stubbornly high level that underscored the labour market recovery was having trouble gaining traction. Initial claims for state unemployment aid dropped 11,000 to 4,57,000, the labour department said on Thursday. The latest figure was a touch more than the drop to 4,59,000 that economists polled by Reuters had forecast. Analysts say new applications for jobless benefits, which have trended sideways for much of this year, have to drop to a range of 400,000 to 450,000 claims to signal sustainable job growth. The labour market is steadying but at a relatively high level of unemployment. It offers a hint of improvement in labour market conditions, said John Lonski, chief economist at Moodys Investors Service in New York. Nevertheless, jobless claims remain quite elevated, and suggest labour slack persists. Weak outlooks from technology companies and discouraging comments from a Federal Reserve official dragged US shares to a weaker close.