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August 12, 2016

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US filings for jobless claims fall

THE number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength in early August that could help spur faster economic growth.

Other data yesterday showed an unexpected rise in import prices in July as a drop in petroleum prices was offset by gains in the cost of other goods. However, renewed dollar strength will likely dampen inflation in the coming months.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 266,000 for the week ended August 6, the Labor Department said. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 fewer applications received than previously reported.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a strong labor market, for 75 consecutive weeks, the longest streak since 1973. The four-week average of claims, considered to be a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 3,000 to 262,750.

With the labor market perceived to be either at or approaching full employment, there is probably little room for further declines in claims. A report on Wednesday showed layoffs fell to a near two-year low in June.

Prices of US Treasuries were largely unchanged by the data.


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