U.S. Economy

     (CN) – Jobless claims declined last week, the third straight drop and a sure sign the employment market remains healthy, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
     It reported weekly applications for unemployment aid dipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000, and that the four-week average dropped to 276,750, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 278,500.
     The government said there were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims.
     This marks 65 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000 the longest streak since 1973.
     In other economic news, the Commerce Department said Thursday that commercial and recreational saltwater fishing in the United States generated more than $214 billion in sales and supported 1.83 million jobs in 2014.
     The economic impact of the industry is broken down in a new report from the department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
     According to the report, the commercial fishing and seafood industry (including imports) generated $153 billion in sales in 2014, an 8 percent increase from 2013, and supported 1.39 million jobs.
     The agency’s definition of the industry includes harvesters, processors, dealers, wholesalers and retailers.
     Domestic harvest (without imports) produced $54 billion in sales, a figure similar to 2013, and supported 811,000 jobs across the broader national economy.
     Recreational fishing remains an important part of coastal tourism industries around the country, the agency said.
     The regions with the highest economic impact from saltwater recreational fishing were Florida’s West Coast, Florida’s East Coast, California, New Jersey, and Texas.
     Saltwater angling sales increased 4 percent from 2013, generating $61 billion in 2014 and supporting 439,000 jobs, the report said.

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