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Claims for Jobless Benefits in U.S. Fall More Than Forecast

Bloomberg (11/21/13) Michelle Jamrisko

Applications for jobless benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost two months, suggesting the labor market is healing. Jobless claims in the week ended Nov. 16 declined by 21,000 to 323,000, from a revised 344,000 the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecasted a decline to 335,000. The less-volatile four-week average of jobless claims fell to 338,500 last week from 345,250 the prior week.

Consumer Prices Unexpectedly Fall in October

Business Insider (11/20/13) Steven Perlberg

The consumer price index declined 0.1% in October after rising 0.2% in September. Economists had forecast no increase. CPI fell to 1.0% year-to-year from 1.2% in September, which was in line with economists’ forecasts.

CPI excluding food and energy increased 0.1% in October from a month earlier, and the year-to-year growth rate was unchanged from September at 1.7%, which was in line with economists’ forecasts.

U.S. Producer Prices Fall for Second Month

Reuters (11/21/13)

U.S. producer prices fell in October for a second straight month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The producer price index decreased by 0.2% in October and 0.1% in September. The decline matched economists’ forecasts and was the largest drop since April. Weak demand is keeping inflation low. Based on low inflation and other factors, the U.S. Federal Reserve likely will continue its bond-buying program until at least March.

Fed Casts About for Endgame on Easy-Money Policy

Wall Street Journal (11/20/13) Jon Hilsenrath; Victoria McGrane

The minutes of the recent U.S. Federal Reserve Board policy meeting show that Fed officials are considering ending the Fed’s bond-buying stimulus program in the coming months, and are searching for ways to handle unexpected developments and soften the public impact. The next policy meeting is in December. The Fed’s decision to continue or end the stimulus program largely depends on the economic data that will be released in the next few weeks.

Officials hope the economy will improve to the point where they can stop buying bonds but continue to hold short-term interest rates near zero as the unemployment rate continues to decline. Business hiring and retail sales were both strong in October. If the bond program becomes ineffective and the job market does not improve, the Fed will consider other methods. Short-term rates will remain low until unemployment drops below 6.5% so long as inflation stays below 2.5%.

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