Saturday, 5 February 2011

US unemployment rate falls

Bloomberg reports the US employment report for January.

The U.S. jobless rate unexpectedly fell in January to the lowest level in 21 months, while payroll growth was depressed by winter storms.

Unemployment declined to 9 percent from December’s 9.4 percent, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Employers added 36,000 workers, short of the 146,000 median gain projected by economists in a Bloomberg News survey...

Average hourly earnings increased to $22.86 from $22.78 in the prior month. The average work week for all workers slipped to 34.2 hours from 34.3 hours...

Bad weather prevented 886,000 Americans from going to work in the January survey week, the Labor Department’s survey of households showed. That compares with an average of 282,000 over the previous five Januarys. Economists at Morgan Stanley said the storms may have subtracted about 150,000 workers from the payrolls count, they said in a note to clients.

Despite the weak headline number, markets took the report relatively positive.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 3.64 percent at 4:20 p.m. in New York from 3.55 percent late yesterday. The dollar strengthened to $1.3587 per euro from $1.3634. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.3 percent to 1,310.87 at the 4 p.m. close.

Elsewhere, Indonesia's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 6.75 percent on Friday, the first increase since October 2008.

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