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US Jobless Claims Fall by 5,000 to 267,000

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A man walks past job seekers as they fill out job applications for recruiters during a job fair in New York

Filings for unemployment benefits in the U.S. decreased to a four-week low, indicating a still-solid labor market approaching the new year.

Jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 267,000 in the week ended Dec. 19, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 270,000. Applications are hovering close to the 255,000 level reached in July, the lowest since the 1970s.

A tighter labor market this year has put a premium on skilled and experienced workers, encouraging employers to forgo reductions in staff. Limited dismissals and steady hiring helped persuade Federal Reserve policy makers last week to raise their benchmark interest rate for the first time in almost 10 years.

“There is no evidence that the pace of layoffs has budged, and more broadly, labor market conditions remain robust,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a research note.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey for jobless claims ranged from 265,000 to 285,000. The number of applications in the previous week was revised to 272,000 from an initially reported 271,000.

No states were estimated last week and there was nothing unusual in the data, according to the Labor Department.

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, increased to 272,500 from 270,750 in the prior week.

Continuing Claims

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits declined by 47,000 in the week ended Dec. 12, the most since mid-September, to 2.2 million. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits dropped to 1.6 percent from 1.7 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

Since the beginning of March, claims have held below the 300,000 level that economists say is consistent with strength in the labor market.

While economies overseas are struggling to improve, domestic demand has been resilient and encouraged more companies to put out help-wanted signs. Payroll gains are showing solid momentum after the 260,000 average last year that was the best since 1999.

Through November, this year’s monthly gains averaged 210,000, with December data due Jan. 8.

The labor-market progress was among factors convincing Fed officials to announce on Dec. 16 the first increase in the benchmark interest rate since 2006. The central bankers unanimously voted for a quarter-point rise, with their forecasts signaling rate increases will amount to 1 percentage point in 2016.

Bloomberg

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Economy

400,000bpd of Crude Oil to be Refined in Three NNPC Refineries – Says FG 

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refineries

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) stated that the rehabilitation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna will generate a minimum of 400,000 barrels per day. 

The production represents a minimum of 90 percent of the installed capacity of the four refineries, according to NCDMB. 

Executive Secretary of the board, Simbi Wabote, said the rejig effort is part of the refining roadmap of President Muhammadu Buhari. This, he said includes four focus areas such as the rehabilitation of the existing four national refineries, co-location of new refineries, construction of greenfield refineries and construction of modular refineries.

With that, he said the nation’s combined refining capacity will rise to over 1.4 million bpd in the next five years.

Speaking at the Nigerian Continent Midstream-Downstream Oil and Gas summit in Lagos, Wabote noted that there is a chance to maximize opportunities in the midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.

He explained that the employment factor in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry is higher in number and of longer duration when compared to that of the upstream sector.

“This provides means to absorb outputs of our Human Capacity Development programs in the form of job opportunities. The entry barrier for businesses to partake in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry is relatively lower compared to that of the upstream sector,” he stated on the employment opportunities lurking in the industry,” Wabote continued. 

“There are vast business opportunities in the midstream to downstream sectors ranging from processing, transportation, storage, and distribution that could be started on a small scale and later scaled up to bigger enterprises thereby growing in-country capacities and capabilities.”

He noted that the direct social impact brought by a productive and efficient midstream and downstream sector of the oil and gas industry is another potential that needs to be maximized.

“There is a sense of pride for any citizen who has the confidence that he or she could take availability of energy sources for granted in whatever form such as electricity, fuels, gas, and others. These have direct correlation to quality of life, productivity, life expectancy, and social harmony,” he added. 

He further stated that NCDMB is in partnership with NNPC to construct a 50,000 liters petroleum products terminal in Brass Island to support the storage and distribution of white products in the coastal states of the country.

The theme of the summit tagged ‘‘Towards maximizing potentials in the Midstream and Downstream Oil & Gas Sector – A Local Content Perspective,’’ is based on its 10-year strategic roadmap to achieve 70 per cent Nigerian Content target in the oil and gas industry by the year 2027.

 

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Economy

Inflation Rate Increases to 16.82% in April in Nigeria

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Nigeria's Inflation Rate - Investors King

Prices of goods and services in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria rose high in the month of April, according to the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation rate, grew at 16.82% rate in the month under review from 15.92% in March 2022. The inflation rate has been on a steady rise since Novermber 2021 when it drops to 15.40%.

On a month basis, inflation increased to 1.76 percent in April 2022, representing an increase of 0.02% from 1.74% recorded in March. The persistent increase in prices reflect the changes in Nigeria’s economic fundamentals. One of the key challenges impacting prices is foreign exchange scarcity.

Naira to Dollar exchange rate jumped to N600/US$1 at the parallel market popularly known as the black market despite the Central Bank of Nigeria discouraging patronage at that section of forex. However, inability to access forex at central bank designated deposit money banks forced most Nigerians to the unregulated black market.

Similarly, the drop in the nation’s external reserves due to the lower crude oil production from the year to date dragged on foreign revenue that eventually hurt central bank ability to service the economy with enough forex in an economy that imported over 90% of its consumption.

Again, rising insecurities in key food producing regions contributed to the jump in prices of food items as noted in the report. The composite food index grew at 18.37% rate in April 2022, slower than  the 22.72% filed in April 2021.

According to NBS, the increase in the value of the index was due to rise in prices of Bread and cereals, Food
products n.e.c, Potatoes, yam, and other tubers, Wine, Fish, Meat, and Oils.  On a monthly basis, food sub-index grew 0.01% to 2% in April from 1.99% in March.

However, the more accurate 12 month index reflect decline in food index from 19.21% filed in March 2022 to 18.88% in April 2022.

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Economy

ICT Changing The Face of Nigeria’s Economy

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Paris - Investors King

While many thought the oil sector would save the Nigerian economy, the drift is gradually shifting away from the oil sector into the non-oil sector – the Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

A recent data revealed by the National Bureau of Statistics, sighted by Investors King, shows that the ICT has contributed 16 per cent to the growth of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

On a year-on-year basis, compared to the previous year in the same quarter, ICT contributed 14.9 per cent to the GDP – a growth of 1.3 per cent. 

According to the data released by NBS, “In nominal terms, in the first quarter of 2022 the sector growth was recorded at 20.54 per cent (year-on-year), 12.68 per cent points increase from the rate of 7.86 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2021, and 14.84 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in the preceding quarter. The Quarter-on- Quarter growth rate recorded in the first quarter of 2022 was -1.87 per cent.  

“The Information and Communications sector contributed 10.55 per cent to the total Nominal GDP in the 2022 first quarter, higher than the rate of 9.91 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2021 and higher than the 9.88 cent it contributed in the preceding quarter”.   

The report added that the sector, in the first quarter of 2022, recorded a growth rate of 12.07 per cent in real terms, year-on-year.

From the rate recorded in the corresponding period of 2021, there was an increase of 5.60 per cent points. Quarter-on-Quarter, the sector exhibited a growth of -9.09 per cent in real terms.  

“Therefore, of total real GDP, the sector contributed 16.20 per cent in 2022 first quarter, higher than in the same quarter of the previous year in which it represented 14.91 per cent and higher than the preceding quarter in which it represented 15.21 per cent,” the data revealed. 

The Information and Communications sector in Nigeria comprises of Telecommunications and Information Services, Publishing, Motion Picture, Sound Recording and Music Production and Broadcasting. 

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