US Dollar Holds Steady As Initial Jobless Claims Surge 6.6 Million

The US dollar is holding steady on Thursday after the federal government reported that initial jobless claims doubled week’s total and topped 6.6 million. The coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on a once robust and resilient labor market, and it is unclear as to when Americans will return to the workforce. Despite the federal government’s $2.2 trillion stimulus package that includes direct income support, how much longer can the world’s largest economy remain closed?

According to the Department of Labor, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits soared to 6.648 million for the week ending March 28, up from last week’s unprecedented 3.3 million jobless claims. This is the new record high. The market had expected a reading of around 3.5 million.
The four-week moving average, which eliminates the week-to-week volatility, advanced to an all-time high of 2.612 million. Continuing jobless claims jumped to a seven-year high of 3.029 million.
On Friday, the US unemployment rate for March will be released, and analysts are projecting 100,000 lost jobs and a 0.3% increase to 3.8%. The main jobless reading does not include workers who have left the labor force or retired early, so any figure may be a lot higher.
In other economic data, the balance of trade narrowed to $39.9 billion in February, up from $45.5 billion in March. The median estimate was a $40 billion deficit. Imports slumped from $253.98 billion in January to $247.5 billion in February, while exports dipped from $208.6 billion to $207.5 billion.
The US Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose 0.31% to 99.98, from an opening of 99.51. After a rough last week due to Federal Reserve interventions to suppress the dollar’s appreciation, the buck has rallied more than 0.6% in recent sessions. Year-to-date, the dollar is up close to 4% as investors pour into the traditional safe-haven asset amid the global financial crisis.
In pre-market trading, US stock markets pared all their triple-digit gains and edging up just four to eight points.
The USD/CAD currency pair climbed 0.42% to 1.4252, from an opening of 1.4190, at 13:13 GMT on Thursday. The EUR/USD tumbled 0.86% to 1.0870, from an opening of 1.0965.

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