Firing decline helps boost confidence in U.S.

Economists’ Forecasts

The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for jobless claims to drop to 345,000 from an initially reported 354,000 a week earlier. Economists’ estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from claims of 335,000 to 360,000.

Some companies are reducing headcount in response to weaker sales. Game developer Zynga Inc. will cut 520 jobs, 18% of its staff, and close offices in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas amid disappointing results. The cuts will save as much as $80 million, the San Francisco-based company said this week.

Other employers, including vehicle and equipment manufacturer Oshkosh Corp., are trimming headcounts as budget cuts take hold. The Oshkosh, Wisconsin, company anticipates declining defense contracts over the next few years, Chief Financial Officer David Sagehorn said, and will lay off workers this summer.

“It’s no secret that defense spending is heading lower, and sequestration has raised numerous questions and eyebrows across the U.S. in terms of the impact that that will have,” Sagehorn said at a May 29 conference. “Going forward, obviously, we will look at our footprint in the defense segment, and one of the big areas of focus for us is managing that overall cost structure as our sales in that segment are expected to decline over the next several years.”

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