Unemployment applications drop slightly; trade deficit narrows

First time claims for unemployment dropped 6,000 last week and the US trade deficit narrowed last month due to a drop in oil prices. The employment picture is still cloudy, however as the data suggests stability in the job market rather than the kind of growth necessary to make a dent in the rate of joblessness.AP: The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 361,000, a level consistent with modest gains in hiring. The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average rose by 2,250 to 368,250 in the week that ended Aug. 4. Weekly applications bounced around in July, skewed by the difficulty of accounting for temporary summertime layoffs in the auto industry. The seasonal distortions had faded by last week. Applications measure the pace of layoffs. When they consistently fall below 375,000, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate. Paul Dales, senior U.S....(Read Full Post)