Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jobless Claims, Inflation Rise, Manufacturing Gets Weaker

Applications for unemployment benefits continued to rise in the past week, while inflation pushed higher and a key manufacturing index weakened.

The weekly jobless claims number, which is closely watched as an indicator for employment trends, unexpectedly rose 11,000 to 428,000, well ahead of estimates of 411,000.

The consumer price index, meanwhile, gained 0.4 percent when including volatile food and energy prices, after an increase of 0.5 percent in July. The so-called core CPI, though, gained 0.2 percent, which was in line with expectations.

Consumers paid more for a range of goods and services last month, pushing up inflation and squeezing Americans' purchasing power.

For the 12 months ending in August, the core index surged 2 percent, the biggest year-over-year increase in nearly three years. That's at the top end of the Federal Reserve's informal inflation [cnbc explains] target. It could limit the central bank's ability to take further steps to try to revive the economy. more