US weekly jobless claims:

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Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 260,000 last week, near the highest level since November amid a shift in the U.S. labor market.

The total for the week ended July 30 was in line with the Dow Jones estimate but a gain of 6,000 from the previous week’s downwardly revised level, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

In other economic news, the U.S. trade deficit decreased to $79.6 billion in June, a decline of $5.3 billion and slightly lower than the estimate for $80 billion.

The jobless claims number comes a day before the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its much anticipated nonfarm payrolls report for July. That is expected the show the U.S. economy added 258,000 positions in the month, compared to the 372,000 initial June estimate.

Federal Reserve officials are watching the jobs market closely for clues about an economy that is showing the highest inflation rate in more than 40 years.

This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.

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