Bloomberg by the Numbers: 374,000

Photograph by Orjan F. Ellingvag/Corbis

A job fair in New York.

That’s the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits for the first time in the week ended June 30, according to Labor Department figures. Applications for benefits fell by 14,000 from a revised total of 388,000 in the previous week. The total also was lower than the median of 385,000 predicted by economists.

Alex Kowalski and Lorraine Woellert analyze the jobless claims report, which preceded a Labor Department report tomorrow that may show the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2 percent.

In other news about the economy, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to minus 37.5 in the week ended July 1 from minus 36.1 in the previous week. Michelle Jamrisko has more about the index, which asks voters to rate the strength of the national economy, the buying climate and their personal finances.

President Barack Obama is talking about the economy during a two-day campaign bus tour that began this morning in a suburb of Toledo. Kate Andersen Brower has details about the trip, including Obama’s announcement in the rust-belt state that his administration filed a claim with the World Trade Organization accusing China of unfair trade practices.

If Republican challenger Mitt Romney wins the election, he “stands up to China” and “demands a playing field for our businesses and workers” on his first day in office, a narrator says in a television ad Romney’s campaign is running in Ohio.

The cities on Obama’s bus trip lean Democratic, I note in a post for Bloomberg’s Political Capital. The president may find them tougher to win as the incumbent at a time of sluggish economic growth.

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