Financial and Monetary Systems

US jobs market, Japanese inflation and other economics stories to read

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The Brooklyn Bridge.

New claims for unemployment fell in the US last week. Image: Photo by Liam Martens on Unsplash

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
  • This weekly round-up brings you the latest news from the world of economics and finance.
  • Top economy stories: US labour market remains strong; Japanese inflation cools; Nigeria's central banks raises rates.

1. US labour market remains strong

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, suggesting strength remains in the labour market. It was the second straight week of declines.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 8,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 215,000 in the week ending 18 May, Reuters reports. Drops were notable in California and Indiana.

US unemployment claims
The number of US citizens filing new claims fell to 215,000 in the week ending 18 May. Image: Reuters

Elsewhere in the US economy, sales of new US single-family homes fell more than expected in April, with the average rate of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increasing through the month, and house prices also rising.

2. Japanese inflation slows

Japan's core inflation figure fell for a second straight month in April, with Reuters reporting the Bank of Japan is likely to wait before raising interest rates again

April's core consumer price index – not including fresh food items – rose 2.2% from a year earlier, having risen 2.6% in March. The "core core" index, which also excludes energy, rose 2.4% after rising 2.9% the month before.

That figure represents the slowest growth since September 2022, and the Bank of Japan has said that sustainable, stable achievement of its 2% inflation target and strong wage growth are key to normalizing policy.

Japan's core inflation slows further
Japan's Image: Reuters

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3. News in brief: Stories on the economy from around the world

British consumer confidence rose in May, hitting its highest in nearly two-and-a-half years. It comes as the UK consumer price index rose by 2.3% in April, down from March's 3.2% increase.

A preliminary reading for Eurozone business activity shows it has expanded at its fastest pace in a year in May.

Singapore's economy grew 2.7% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024, representing the fastest period of growth since the third quarter of 2022.

Thailand's exports rose 6.8% year-on-year in April, following a 10.9% decline in March. However, exports dropped 6.7% compared to March. "We expect exports to rise by 0.8% to 1% in the second quarter," Poonpong Naiyanapakorn, head of the ministry's Trade Policy and Strategy Office, told a press conference.


The economy of the United Arab Emirates grew 4.3% year-on-year in the last quarter of 2023, according to preliminary data, with non-oil economic growth reaching 6.7%.

Major geopolitical conflict is the top risk for global family offices in the near- and medium-term, according to a recent UBS survey.

Sri Lankan consumer price inflation rose to 2.7% in April, up from 2.5% in March, official data shows.

New car sales in the European Union rose 13.7% in April, year-on-year, the biggest jump since October 2023.

Nigeria's central bank has raised interest rates, following continued price rises, as inflation hit a 28-year high in April.

4. More on finance and the economy from Agenda

Multilateral financial institutions are facing new challenges, from geopolitical tensions to technological change. But, as Kalin Anev Janse and Kim Skov Jensen write, they have a vital role to play in supporting member countries – here's how they can respond.

A lack of global STEM talent means employers need to strategize and innovate, writes Timo Lehne, CEO of SThree PLC, who believes collaboration with educational institutions is key.

Strategic donations, with investment in programmes that increase women's earnings and savings, can promote economic equality. Here Mark Muckerheide, the Associate Vice-President of Women’s Economic Justice, CARE USA, explores how corporate donors can improve partnerships with recipient organizations.

Related topics:
Financial and Monetary SystemsEconomic Growth
1. US labour market remains strong2. Japanese inflation slows3. News in brief: Stories on the economy from around the world4. More on finance and the economy from Agenda

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