America

Jobless Claims Dip; Retail Sales Soft

There was a slight decline in the number of Americans who filed first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

It said that 422,000 claims were filed, vs. 428,000 the week before.

Basically, the level remained high and at a pace that indicates the labor market is still weak. We'll hear much more on Friday, when the Labor Department issues its figures on the May unemployment rate and business payrolls. As we reported Wednesday, early signs are that the news won't be too good.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press says that "retailers are reporting muted May revenue growth as bad weather and worry over rising food and gas prices held back shoppers' demand for spring and summer merchandise."

Reminder: Wall Street gets going at 9:30 a.m. ET. Wednesday, stocks took a beating in New York. As AP says, the Dow Jones industrial average suffered "its largest drop in nearly a year."

Our colleagues at Planet Money make sense of the economic indicators over here.

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