Drop in U.S. jobless claims points to healing in labor market

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The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to one of its lowest levels since before the 2007-09 recession, a sign of increasing health in the labor market.

Other data on Thursday showed a rise in business inventories during May, bolstering expectations the economy was bouncing back from a weak first quarter.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000 for the week ended July 5, the Labor Department said. Economists had expected no change in the number of first-time applications for jobless aid.

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