Instant view: Jobless claims fall below 400,000

Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:02am EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, dropping below the key 400,000 level for the first time since early April, according to a government report on Thursday that pointed to some labor market improvement.

COMMENTS:

ANTHONY CHAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, JPMORGAN PRIVATE WEALTH MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK

"When you look at last week and this week, it does suggest we are making a gradual progress toward healing many of the labor market problems that we have.

"I would view this number as encouraging -- not as encouraging as the headline would suggest, but certainly encouraging.

"If the four-week moving average moves below 400,000, that would confirm we're making definitive progress. Right now the best conclusion is this suggests the progress is tentative.

"I would not jump on the bandwagon suggesting labor market problems are completely healed because there are severe seasonal adjustment problems."

ROBBERT VAN BATENBURG, HEAD OF GLOBAL RESEARCH, LOUIS CAPITAL MARKETS, NEW YORK

"It was a nice surprise but prior week's revision is up. But I don't think it's a lasting thing. If the Washington continues to play hardball on this debt issue, we are going to see shut down parts of the government like back in 1995. That will cause a spike in claims. Believe me, we are not seeing a miraculous comeback in the job market. It's still pretty grim."   Continued...