U.S. weekly jobless claims drop below 300,000; producer inflation rising

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By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped below 300,000 last week for the first time in 19 months, further evidence that a shortage of workers was behind slower job growth rather than weakening demand for labor. With the second straight weekly decline reported by the Labor Department on Thursday, initial claims are now in the zone that is generally associated with healthy labor market conditions. But the labor market faces challenges from shortages of workers and raw materials, especially in the auto sector. “The data s…

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