Reprinted from The New York Times by Reuters on July 13, 2017.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week for the first time in a month and producer prices unexpectedly rose in June, likely keeping the Federal Reserve on course for a third interest rate increase this year.
Thursday’s data from the Labor Department underscored labor market buoyancy and suggested that there was enough momentum in the economy to generate some inflation, even though price pressures still remain moderate.
“It remains hard for companies to hire skilled workers. Inflation isn’t slip-sliding away from the Fed’s goal,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “We expect they are on track to announce the start of the balance sheet unwind in September and go for the last of three rate hikes planned for this year in December.”
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 247,000 for the week ended July 8, the Labor Department said. It was the 123rd straight week that claims remained below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market. …