The latest economic data showed marked improvement over the course of one month, as applications for unemployment benefits fell and private sector employment increased.

The number of jobless benefits claims for unemployed workers dropped by 14,000, while the total number of applications fell to a seasonally adjusted 418,000 last week, the U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday.

Payrolls processor ADP released a report that indicated the private sector added 157,000 jobs in June. Only 36,000 jobs were added in May.

The first half of the year was filled with disappointing economic data, but the latest reports have investors hopeful that the economy will add jobs through the rest of the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 70.62 points, or .55 percent, in early morning trading. Nasdaq and the S&P were both up by more than .70 percent.

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