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.
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.
Prepaid Meter is Free, Buhari Warns DisCos, Agents
President Muhammadu Buhari once again warned Power Distributing Companies (DisCos) and their agents selling prepaid meters to electricity customers against the Federal Government directive that meter is free.
Ahmed Rufai Zakar, the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, who represented Buhari at the FGN/NLC-TUC ad-hoc committee on electricity tariff stakeholders held in Ibadan, Oyo State on Wednesday, said President Buhari understood people’s concerns on issues surrounding electricity and was determined to curb and deal with unscrupulous individuals in the power sector.
He said, “We have made it very clear through the regulators direct order as well as intervention from the Ministry of Power that the meters are to be provided to Nigerians at no cost.
“Even for meters that were paid for, there is the directive from the regulator to the discos that they would need to find a way to reimburse those citizens over time.
“In cases where we find any disco or disco representative selling the meters or exploiting Nigerians to be able to get meters by paying, we would take the full measures of the law.
“The President has mandated that these meters must be free. We have also said that they must come from local manufacturers.
“This would create jobs and revive our industry.”
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Business2 months ago
Npower News on Permanency for Batch A, B
Business2 months ago
Buhari Budgets N420 Billion for Npower, Other Social Investment Programmes in 2021 Budget
Forex2 months ago
Naira Improves Against Global Counterparts on Black Market
Forex3 months ago
Zenith Bank Joins Other Banks to Cap International Spend Limit at $100/Month
Cryptocurrency3 months ago
Bitcoin Gains 1.67 Percent to $11,050 Per Coin Amid Liquidity Issue
Business3 months ago
FG to Absorb Exited N-power Beneficiaries into New Program
Business3 months ago
FG Approves Stipends for Exited N-Power Beneficiaries
Stock Market3 months ago
Zenith Bank Declares 30 Kobo Interim Dividend for H1 2020