JOBLESS CLAIMS DOWN: Weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to nearly a four-year low. That's raising expectations that February will likely be another month of strong hiring.
INFLATION TAME: Wholesale prices were barely changed in January. More jobs and tame inflation boosts consumers' buying power, which helps the economy grow.
HOUSING STARTS UP: Greater hiring is also benefiting the housing market. Builders broke ground in January on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 699,000 homes, the Commerce Department said. That nearly matches November's three-year high.
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