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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Near 49-year Low

This could ease concerns about a slowdown in the economy

The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits tumbled to near 49-year lows last week, which could ease concerns about a slowdown in the labor market and economy.

Other data on Thursday showed import prices dropping by the most in more than three years in November as the cost of petroleum products tumbled and a strong dollar weighed on prices of other goods, pointing to subdued imported inflation.

Tightening labor market conditions bolster expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its Dec. 18-19 policy meeting. With inflation likely to remain tame through the first half of 2019, economists see fewer rate hikes next year.

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