US Dollar Mixed on Worse-Than-Expected Jobless Claims

The US dollar is mixed against its most-traded currency competitors on Thursday after the government released a worse-than-expected jobless claims report. But the job-loss trend may have peaked after three consecutive weeks of falling numbers, leaving markets indifferent to the weekly figures.

According to the Department of Labor, initial jobless claims clocked in at 4.427 million for the week ending April 18, worse than the median estimate of 4.2 million. This is down from last week’s 5.245 million reading. The biggest increases were seen in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Texas.
Continuing jobless claims surged to 15.976 million for the week ending April 11. The four-week average, which eliminates the week-to-week volatility, spiked to 5.786 million.
In total, approximately 26 million Americans have lost their jobs in just five weeks, representing about 16% of the total labor market. As a result, the 22 million jobs that were created since September 2010 have been wiped out in just a month. The optimistic view is that the US labor market might have reached an apex as the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits keeps coming down since peaking at 6.867 million in the week ending March 29.
In other data, mortgage applications dipped 0.3% in the week ending April 17, down from the 7.3% surge in the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The housing price index edged up 0.7% in February, up from the 0.5% boost in January.
Financial markets hardly reacted to the labor data as the leading US indexes were relatively flat.
The US Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, held steady on the news. The buck rose 0.1% to 100.49, from an opening of 100.45. The index is on track for a weekly gain of 0.5%, lifting its year-to-date increase to 4.25%.
The USD/CAD currency pair tumbled 0.5% to 1.4091, from an opening of 1.4163, at 13:23 GMT on Thursday. The EUR/USD fell 0.38% to 1.0784, from an opening of 1.0823.

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