The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to the lowest level in five years, evidence that employers are cutting fewer jobs and may step up hiring.
More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, though the winter holidays likely distorted the data for the second straight week.
Rising food costs and higher rents offset a drop in gas prices last month, leaving consumer prices only slightly higher in October compared with the previous month.
U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October and hiring was stronger over the previous two months than first thought. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September because the work force grew.
Long-term unemployed workers in states with persisting high joblessness soon would no longer be able to count on unemployment benefit checks for up to 99 weeks under legislation before Congress.
A wave of census layoffs cut the nation’s payrolls in June for the first time in six months,