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The Week in Numbers: US Unemployment Rate Goes Up Slightly

In the Eurozone, the unemployment rate for May held steady at 9.3%. This kept the rate at its lowest level since March 2009. As a comparison, a year back, the rate came in at 10.2%. In terms of absolute numbers, there were 15 million people out of work in the region. The eurozone’s biggest economy, Germany, saw May’s unemployment rate at 3.9%.

In the US, the Federal Open Market Committee released the minutes of its June interest-rate meeting on Thursday. The Federal officials had differing views on when to start reducing its US$4.5 trillion balance sheet. But they showed a determination to continue increasing interest rates even with the muted inflation levels of below 2%.

Staying in the US, around 222,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. But the unemployment rate saw a slight tick up to 4.4%, an increase from a 16-year low of 4.3%. The Labor Department said:

“In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.25. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 63 cents, or 2.5 percent.”

Turning to Singapore, the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for June came in at 50.9, expanding for the 10th consecutive month. This is a slight uptick from May’s figure of 50.8. A reading of above 50 points towards economic expansion.

“The latest PMI readings indicated that growth in the local manufacturing sector remained unfettered, despite headwinds and uncertainties in the global market environment,” said Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM), which compiles the data.

And finally, Singapore and Brunei jointly launched commemorative S$50 and B$50 notes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between the two nations. Since yesterday, 1,000,000 pieces of B$50 and 2,000,000 pieces of S$50 commemorative notes will be available for public exchange at face value at retail banks in both the countries.

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