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Import Prices Edge Down, Jobless Claims Drop

IN BRIEF / THE ECONOMY

May 11, 2001|Reuters

U.S. import prices fell in April for the third month in a row, reflecting declines in both petroleum and nonpetroleum products. The Labor Department said import prices edged down 0.5% in April after dropping 1.5% in March, which was earlier reported as a 1.6% decline. Economists had expected import prices to be unchanged in April. The price of imported petroleum dropped 0.5% after plunging 6.6% in March, earlier reported as a 5.9% decline. U.S. export prices were unchanged after dipping 0.1% in March. However, prices for auto exports edged up 0.1% for the second consecutive month.

Separately, the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits last week plunged. Initial jobless claims dropped by 41,000 to 384,000 in the week ended May 5, their lowest level since a matching 384,000 in the week ended March 31, the Labor Department said. Economists had expected a smaller decline. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, edged down to 402,500 claims from 405,500 the previous week.

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