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The cost of the things we buy edged lower on the wholesale level.

What the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calls the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand inched down a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in July after rising 0.1% in June and holding steady in May.

For the 12 months ended in July, the PPI is up 1.9%.

Services and goods prices drop

The cost of services dropped 0.2% last month, accounting for over 80% of the decline in the July PPI. It's the first decrease since February.

On the other hand, prices for traveler accommodation services, apparel wholesaling, and hospital outpatient care also increased.

Goods prices were down 0.1% last month after rising 0.1% in June.

Gasoline prices were down 1.4% leading to an overall decline of 0.3% in energy costs. Food costs were unchanged, as declines in the costs of beef and veal outweighed increases in pork and grain prices.

The “core” rate of wholesale inflation -- less the volatile food and energy categories -- declined 0.1%. It's up 1.8% for the year ending in July.

The complete report may be found on the BLS website.

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Jobless claims

Initial jobless claims rose last week for the first time in five weeks.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports first-time applications for state unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 244,000 in the week ending August 5. That's an advance of 3,000 from the previous week's level, which was revised higher by 1,000.

What economists see as a more accurate gauge of the labor market for its relative lack of volatility -- the four-week moving average -- fell by 1,000 from the previous week to 241,000.

The full report is available on the DOL website.


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