RTTNews - First-time claims for unemployment benefits showed a substantial decrease in the week ended July 4th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, with jobless claims falling below the 600,000 level for the first time since January.

The report showed that jobless claims fell to 565,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 617,000. Economists had been expecting a more modest decrease to 603,000 from the 614,000 originally reported for the previous week.

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