Mixed economic news points to slow growth, more jobs
The final revision for 3rd quarter growth was revised downward, while new unemployment claims hit a 3 1/2 year low.
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits hit a 3-1/2 year low last week, bolstering views the economy was gaining momentum, even though third-quarter growth was revised down.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 364,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, the lowest level since April 2008.
The claims data, which covered the survey period for nonfarm payrolls, helped to take the sting out of a separate report from the Commerce Department showing that gross domestic product grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter.
Growth, which had previously been reported to have expanded at a 2 percent pace, was held back by a sharp drop in healthcare spending.
"The employment situation continues to show strong signs of a recovery and goes against the grain of what people felt four months ago," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York.
The unemployment filings does not mean that new jobs are being created, just that fewer jobs are being lost. Judging by that anemic growth figure, not too many jobs will be created any time soon.
And the 4th quarter will almost certainly show much better growth - in the 3% range say many economists. Of course, they predicted a 2.5% gain for the 3rd quarter and came up very short. Still, with an economy this bad, you take your good news wherever you can get it.