USA TODAY US Edition
The economy . . .
Weekly unemployment benefit applications jumped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 380,000 last week, the Labor Department said. The fourweek average, a less volatile gauge, rose to 368,500. After declining since last fall, applications have leveled off in recent weeks. The fourweek average is essentially unchanged in the past two months. The increase “doesn’t ring any alarm bells,” said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Applications can be choppy.” But the trend bears watching, he said. . . . Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on
30-year loans fell to 3.88% from 3.98% last week. The average rate on a 15-year hit a fresh low of 3.11% from 3.21%. The previous record low of 3.13% was hit last month. ... U.S. wholesale
prices were flat in March after a drop in energy prices offset rising costs for food and pickups. The Labor Department said the producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, was unchanged. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, the core index rose 0.3%.