Jan 30, 2019

U.S. jobless claims dropped to lowest in 50 years

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The number of Americans filing jobless claims fell to the lowest in close to 50 years last week. Based on historical trends, LPL Financial analysts argue this could signal a recession is further off than many expect.

The big picture: Jobless claims are a leading indicator, LPL Research Chief Investment Strategist John Lynch says. Historically, a 75,000–100,000 increase in claims over a 26-week period has been associated with a recession.

  • “The U.S. labor market remains strong and will help buoy consumer health and output growth this year,” Lynch said.

Yes, but: The data excludes 380,000 workers who went without pay because of the political impasse over President Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border.

Go deeper: Why you should stop worrying about a recession

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.