US economy under pressure, jobless claims jump

File: A view of a Wall Street sign near the New York Stock Exchange. New orders for durable goods manufactured in the United States fell in November and jobless claims rose. Photo: EPA

WASHINGTON - New orders for durable goods manufactured in the United States fell in November, capping a four-month streak of increases, according to Commerce Department figures released Thursday.

Total new orders sank 4.6 percent, driven in part by a sharp 73.5 percent decrease in civilian aircraft and parts orders.

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Transportation equipment orders also ended a four-month streak, falling 13.2 percent. For the first 11 months of the year, orders are now down 0.3 percent compared to the same period in 2015.

In a separate set of figures also released Thursday, the Labor Department reported that new claims for jobless benefits rose to their highest level since June.

In the week ending December 17, initial claims for unemployment benefits rose 21,000 to 275,000, whereas analysts had only forecast an increase of 2,000.

The volatile weekly figure can be used to gauge the prevalence of layoffs and the health of jobs markets. However the result announced Friday marked 94 consecutive weeks of claims below 300,000, the longest such streak since 1970.

Robust job creation since the summer in part helped convince the US central bank this month to increase interest rates for the first time in a year.


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