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Positive Signs: Jobless Claims Drop, Retail Sales Rise

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance has dropped back down to one of its lowest levels since January 2008, the Employment and Training Administration says.

According to that agency, there were 334,000 initial claims filed last week, down 12,000 from the week before.

Also Thursday morning, the Census Bureau reported that retail sales rose 0.6 percent in May from April. The Associated Press says that "the gain shows consumers remain resilient despite higher taxes and could drive faster growth later this year. ... The April gain was led by a 1.8 percent jump in auto sales, the biggest increase in six months."

Bloomberg News adds that the economic data are among the reasons why stocks are trading higher today.

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