1. UNEMPLOYMENT

    Sharp Drop in U.S. Jobless Claims

    In this June 13, 2012 file photo, Maria Wilt, center, talks to a recruiter at a job fair expo in Anaheim, Calif.  A private survey released Thursday, July 5, 2012, shows U.S. businesses increased hiring in June, suggesting the job market could be recovering after three sluggish months. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

    Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

    New claims for jobless benefits neared a four-year low last week, dropping by 35,000 claims—sharper than economists predicted—according to the U.S. Department of Labor. New orders for durable goods manufactured in the United States, however, also dropped in June. Automakers are shutting down fewer temporary plants than in the past, making labor-department statistics volatile, as many auto companies have layoffs around this time of year. Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he’d be willing to take further action to improve the economy if employment levels didn’t increase.

    Read it at Reuters