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U.S. jobless claims hit more than 8-year low, economy doing better

Published on Jul 25, 2014 2:25 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in nearly 8-1/2 years last week, suggesting the U.S. labour market recovery was gaining traction.

While another report on Thursday showed a sharp decline in new homes sales in the United States in June, economists cautioned against reading too much into the drop, noting that other data have pointed to housing getting back on track after stalling in late 2013.

"The economy is doing better," said Mr Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania."You really cannot put too much (stock) in the ups and downs in new home sales. I don't think it suggests that housing is heading south."

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 284,000 for the week ended July 19, the lowest level since February 2006, the Labour Department said. Economists had expected claims to rise to 308,000.

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