America

Jobless Claims Dip; Housing Starts Rise

Two economic indicators that are at least pointing in the right direction:

— The number of people who filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell by 16,000 last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. They dipped to 414,000 from 430,000 the week before.

Claims remain in a range that signals a weak labor market, however.

— There were 3.5 percent more "housing starts" in May than in April, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report. It reports that construction was begun (at an annual rate) on 560,000 homes, vs. 541,000 in April.

Still, the pace is 3.4 percent below that of May 2010.

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