Taking out volatile food and energy, core prices were tame and inflation remained relatively flat, according to the Labor Department.
Meanwhile, industrial production rose 0.1 percent in June, the fourth straight month with gains, while manufacturing dropped 0.4 percent after three months of bolstering the nation’s economic recovery, according to the Federal Reserve.
Claims dropped for the second straight week and for the third time in the past month. Unemployment numbers have hovered around 450,000 for the past several months, showing no real downward movement, which is needed to push along the recovery.
If job numbers continue to fall for the next several weeks, economists might be become more upbeat about the job market.
Economists argue jobless claims need to drop into the low 400,000s or high 300,000s to reflect stronger job growth in the private sector.
The Senate is expected to pass a $34 billion bill early next week that will provide for an extension of unemployment benefits through November. The bill has stalled out in the upper chamber behind a Republican filibuster. Senate Republicans have argued the bill should be paid for and not add to the deficit.
Since extended unemployment insurance expired June 2, almost 2.5 million people have lost their benefits beyond the initial 26 weeks provided by states.