US Jobless numbers continue to improve

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By Jacob Maslow

interviewForget the first quarter’s layoff announcements from companies ranging from shale oil producers to eBay to American Express to Target, it appears the broader US economy is improving so much that employers have been on a hiring streak. Accordingly, the overall US jobs picture continues to improve as more and more companies snap up employees at an increasing pace. As the US economy continues to recover, expect more hiring.

Last week’s seasonally adjusted numbers show a decrease of 36,000 jobless benefits claims. This downturn reversed the previous week’s uptick. Based on recent hiring trends and the overall growth of the US economy, expect this trend to continue (despite an uptick every once in a while). This is quite surprising considering the fact that the energy sector continues to hemorrhage jobs as the price of oil seems stuck below the $50 per barrel range.

While we aren’t yet at the stage where employees can name their price, we might get there sooner rather than later. Expect the recent jobless numbers to embolden the US Federal Reserve in its publicly stated intention of raising interest rates sooner rather than later. It appears that the US economy finally is on strong legs and the Fed doesn’t want to appear to be too slow on the draw.

In terms of short-term effects, expect the continuing strength in US jobs numbers to contribute to the US dollar’s continued rise against the European euro and the Japanese yen. All things being equal, expect the US dollar to reach parity with the euro at the end of summer or before fall.

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