US jobs and inflation data favour easy Fed policy

WASHINGTON - More Americans than expected filed new claims for jobless aid last week and consumer prices were flat in January, supporting the argument for the Federal Reserve to maintain its very accommodative monetary policy stance.

By Lucia Mutikani (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 22 Feb 2013, 11:56 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:57 AM

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, the Labour Department said on Thursday.

It said in a second report that consumer prices were flat for a second consecutive month in January. The data comes amid growing signs of divisions at the Fed over its bond buying program aimed to stimulate the sluggish economic recovery.

Consumer prices excluding food and energy rose 0.3 per cent — the largest gain since May 2011. The so-called core CPI had increased 0.1 per cent in December.

In the 12 months through January, core CPI increased 1.9 per cent after rising by the same margin in December. That is just below the Fed’s two per cent goal.

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