NEW YORK New claims for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, according to a government report on Thursday that could dampen hopes of a pick-up in job creation in April after March's slowdown.
TOM PORCELLI, CHIEF U.S. ECONOMIST, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, NEW YORK
"I am disturbed by this number. It is a clean number with little to skew it as we had last week and so we are obviously moving in the wrong direction here. The Fed will not hang its hat on any one piece of data, but put this data together with the weak payrolls report last month and it is sending a disturbing signal about the labor market."
JEREMY LAWSON, SENIOR ECONOMIST, BNP PARIBAS, NEW YORK
"Taking a step back, some of the improvement in labor market earlier this year was probably due to the unseasonably mild weather. We are seeing some pick up in claims after the exaggerated decline earlier this year. This data is consistent with the softer payrolls number in March. This is survey week for payrolls."
"It is unreasonable to expect payrolls would keep up with what we saw during the winter months. The trend has softened. We are increasingly expecting that this spring."
OMER ESINER, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, COMMONWEALTH FOREIGN EXCHANGE, WASHINGTON
"They're hovering around the 380,000 mark - not great but not too disappointing, either. Nothing to get too excited about, which is why we're seeing a muted reaction in the market. We'd like to see a move back to the recent lows around 360,000. That would be a clearer indication that labor market conditions are improving at a pace quick enough to bring down the jobless rate and maybe revive talk of earlier policy normalization from the Fed."
SEAN INCREMONA, ECONOMIST, 4CAST LTD, NEW YORK
"It's just bad, very disappointing. The upward revision to last week combined with the higher-than-expected number this week really does take a lot of momentum out of the progress we've been seeing...One month of payrolls and two weeks of claims aren't going to do much, but this does suggest the economy might not be as strong as initially perceived. The prospects for easing are on the table and are always going to be on the table, but the likelihood is slowing moving its way north again. Euro zone worries, U.S. economy worries -- it doesn't look like it's going to be a risk-on day."
SUBODH KUMAR, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, SUBODH KUMAR & ASSOCIATES IN TORONTO
"The number suggests that improvement is slowing down, an idea we've also gotten from industrial data last week. When I saw last week's number, which was also around 380,000, I thought this might happen. It looks like a slow recovery.
"European interest rates will dominate the market, along with the price of oil. The claims could have a bigger impact on the bond market, as stocks will be driven by individual earnings."
THEODORE LITTLETON, ECONOMIST, IFR ECONOMICS, A UNIT OF THOMSON REUTERS
"Initial jobless claims disappointed in the week ended April 14, ticking down just 2k to 386k with an upward revision to the prior week of 8k. Claims had been expected to drop to 370k from the previously reported level of 380k."
STOCKS: U.S. stock index futures pare gains.
BONDS: U.S. Treasury debt prices rise.
FOREX: Dollar trims gains versus yen.
(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)