The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a near six-year low last week, hinting at a pick-up in job growth in early August. In a separate release, U.S. consumer prices remained largely benign in July, which could comfort Federal Reserve officials worried about low inflation as they weigh trimming their massive bond buying program.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000, the lowest level since October 2007, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to come in at 335,000 last week.