Business

New unemployment applications decline

A fitful economic recovery is drawing strength from both a stabilizing job market and signs that manufacturing will contribute to the rebound.

The Labor Department said the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment aid fell more than expected last week. The four-week average for claims, which smooths out fluctuations, fell for the 16th straight week, to its lowest point since September 2008, when the financial crisis hit with full force.

Further evidence of a gradually healing economy was a Commerce Department report that orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket durable goods rose in November.

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