Business, Economics and Jobs

US economy: More demand, more jobless


A financial professional races by on the floor of the New York Stock Exchage at the end of the trading day March 3, 2011 in New York City.


Chris Hondros

Here's the latest check-up on the world's largest economy:

January's U.S. trade deficit rose to $46.3 billion from $40.3 billion.

Why? Demand for goods is rising in the U.S., so people bought more imported stuff (oil, capital goods, foreign cars). Exports, by the way, were strong too.

Meanwhile, initial claims for jobless benefits increased by 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 397,000. Economists expected those claims to rise to 378,000. Still, following last month's growth of 192,000 jobs most economists remain bullish about the U.S. labor market.

"Jobless claims are beginning to trend lower, and that's what really is important here. For a long time we were asking if the economy was doing better, why aren't companies hiring, and now that component seems to be falling into place," Michael Materasso, a portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton, told Reuters.

Though you can be excused for not knowing that.

According to a new poll today by Bloomberg, only 1 in 7 people believes the U.S. economy is on track for a lasting recovery. Almost half say they're personally worse off than they were two years ago when the global economic crisis began.

Investors aren't buying it, either.

Wall Street is tumbling in mid-day trading, on new worries about the strength of the U.S. economy.