Thu, Aug 1, 2013 11:21 AM EDT 0:51
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week, touching a 5-1/2 year low, suggesting a steadily improving labor market. The Institute for Supply Management has reported that manufacturing is suddenly booming in America. Its July Manufacturing Index rose handily to 55.4 from only 50.9 in June, sending the Dow Jones and Standard and Poor's averages to all-time highs. Ford, Chrysler and Nissan each reported an 11 percent increase in sales for last month, a sign that U.S. auto sales will remain strong into the second half of the year.