Drop in US Jobless Claims Increases Confidence

Americans unexpectedly filed fewer claims for unemployment benefits last week, highlighting labor-market gains that are shoring up consumer confidence.

Jobless claims dropped by 5,000 to 305,000 in the week ended Sept. 21, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The monthly average was the lowest since 2007. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose for the third straight week, another report showed.

Fewer dismissals show employers are confident sales will hold up and sustain growth in the world’s largest economy amid the budget battle in Washington. At the same time, higher borrowing costs threaten to curb corporate expansion as well as the household spending that accounts for 70 percent of gross domestic product.

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