RTTNews - First-time claims for unemployment benefits showed a much bigger than expected decrease in the week ended August 1st, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, with the data likely to offset some of the recent concerns about the outlook for the labor market.

The report showed that initial jobless claims fell to 550,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 588,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to edge down to 580,000 from the 584,000 originally reported for the previous week.

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