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First-Time U.S. Unemployment Claims Fall Slightly, New Residential Construction Drops Steeply

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June 20 2024 9:12AM

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits saw a modest pullback in the week ended June 15th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dipped to 238,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 243,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to fall to 235,000 from the 242,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the report said the less volatile four-week moving average rose to 232,750, an increase of 5,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 227,250.

A separate report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday unexpectedly showed a steep drop in new residential construction in the U.S. in the month of May.

The Commerce Department said housing starts plunged by 5.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.277 million in May after surging by 4.1 percent to a revised rate of 1.352 million in April.

Economists had expected housing starts to climb by 0.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.370 million from the 1.360 million originally reported for the previous month.

The report also said building permits slumped by 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.386 million in May after tumbling by 3.0 percent to a rate of 1.440 million in April.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, were expected to increase by 0.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.450 million.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia also released a report on Thursday showing an unexpected slowdown in the pace of growth by regional manufacturing activity in the month of June.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current general activity fell to 1.3 in June from 4.5 in May, although a positive reading still indicates growth. Economists had expected the index to come in inch up to 5.0.

Looking ahead, the Philly Fed said most future activity indicators remained positive but suggest less widespread expectations for overall growth over the next six months.

At 11 am ET, the Energy Information Administration is due to release its report on oil inventories in the week ended June 14th.

The Treasury Department is also scheduled to announce the details of this month’s auctions of two-year, five-year and seven-year notes at 11 am ET.

At 4 pm ET, Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin is due to speak before the Risk Management Association.

San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly is scheduled to participate in a panel on “The Transformative Power of AI: How is Technology Changing Our Lives?” in coordination with Syracuse University and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at 10:15 pm ET.