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Factory activity and employment data show U.S. economy remains strong

By Jay Jackson, Abu Dhabi News.Net
18 Jan 2019, 02:36 GMT+10

WASHINGTON DC - The Labor Department on Thursday delivered some good news on the employment front.

The jobs market remains robust as applications for unemployment benefits fell last week by 3,000 to 213,000. The drop was unexpected as analysts were forecasting a rise to 220,000.

The numbers were for the week ending 12 January 2019.

Eslewhere, factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region was boosted by new orders. Other data was not available due to the government shutdown.

There was concern on Wall Street Thursday that the shutdown could impact on unemployment figures going forward, following the current period that Federal workers are going without pay for. The current period, relative to the first payckeck missed, is for the fortnight ending 19 January 2019.

"The federal government shutdown could make the payroll jobs number a walking disaster," Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York told the Reuters Thomson news agency on Thuirsday. "Payroll employment is likely to dive, dive, dive in January with perhaps 300 or 400 thousand jobs lost."

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