First-time filings for unemployment insurance hit 3.84 million last week, bringing the tally over the past six weeks to 30.0 million.
Meanwhile, U.S. consumer spending dropped 7.5% in March, compared with a year earlier, as Americans stayed home in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The slowdown in spending also came as personal incomes dropped 2% in March.
Following this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday decided to maintain its current interest rate target range of between 0% and 0.25%. The central bank pledged to keep interest rates close to zero until the U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders.
The central bank said this would remain the case until full employment returns and inflation gets back to around the Fed’s long-stated 2% goal. The Fed cautioned that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will “weigh heavily” on the near-term outlook, posing “considerable risks” in the medium term.
Concern for the state of the economy deepened Wednesday as first-quarter GDP (gross domestic product) from the Commerce Department showed the sharpest economic contraction since the financial crisis, shrinking by 4.8%.
Auctions will be held Thursday for $90 billion of 4-week Treasury bills, $70 billion of 8-week bills and $30 billion of 154-day bills.
– CNBC’s Patti Domm and Maggie Fitzgerald contributed reporting.