Jobless Claims Flat
Wall Street Journal (06/21/12) Josh Mitchell; Andrew Ackerman
The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 2,000 last week to 387,000, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 389,000 from 386,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast 385,000 new jobless claims would be filed last week. The average of new claims over the past four weeks, meanwhile, climbed 3,500 to 386,250, marking the highest level in almost seven months.
Fed Warns of Risk to Economy
Wall Street Journal (06/21/12) Kristina Peterson; Jon Hilsenrath
The U.S. Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it would extend through the end of the year a program known as “Operation Twist,” which aims to drive down long-term interest rates and reduce borrowing costs for businesses and households. Fed officials said they are ready to do more if necessary to spur job growth. “I wouldn’t accept the proposition though that the Fed has no more ammunition,” said Ben Bernanke, chairman of the central bank, adding that “if we don’t see continued improvement in the labor market we’ll be prepared to take additional steps.”
The first-stage, $400 billion Operation Twist program had been scheduled to end this month. By extending it by six months, the Fed will be purchasing an additional $267 billion in Treasury bonds and notes with maturities ranging from six to 30 years, and selling an equivalent amount of securities with maturities of three years and less. The net effect, the Fed hopes, is to ease the burden of past debts for households and businesses and make them more willing to take risks such as hiring or investing today.
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