U.S. Jobless Claims Fall; GDP rose at 3% annualized rate

U.S. gross domestic product, which measures the total output of goods and services produced by labor and property in the United States, increased at an annual rate of 3.0 % in the fourth quarter of 2011, slightly below estimates.

Real exports of goods and services increased 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter which is lower than the 4.7 % in the third quarter of 2011.

Federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

Private businesses increased inventories $52.2 billion in the fourth quarter which is an improvement compared to a decrease of $2.0 billion in the third quarter of 2011.

Weekly Jobless Claims

Americans filing for weekly jobless benefits dropped 5,000 last week. In the week ending March 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 359,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 364,000.

Over a 4 week period, the average number of claims lowered by 3,500 to 365,00 which is a 4 year low.

Weekly jobless claims data failed to meet bullish market expectations.

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