The number of people signing up for unemployment assistance rose by 13,000 in the United States last week. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department says a total of 380,000 newly-laid off people asked for compensation for the first time, pushing the number of jobless claims to its highest level in two months. Analysts interviewed by news agencies say the U.S. job market has been improving, but those gains are slowing down.
Another government report says a key measure of inflation at the wholesale level stayed level in March. Outside the volatile areas of energy and food, prices in the overall economy rose three-tenths of a percent, which is a bit more than the previous month.
A separate report showed the U.S. trade deficit dropped to the lowest point in four months in February. The gap between what U.S. producers sell overseas and what Americans buy from foreign sources declined more than 12 percent for the month as the volume of oil imports dropped and orders for Chinese-made goods declined.
The World Trade Organization says global trade will grow more slowly this year than last as Europe’s debt crisis continues to slow commerce. The WTO report says trade will expand just 3.7 percent in 2012.