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

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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