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Decline in jobless claims and Q3 GDP

The Labor Department said 4,000 fewer people filed initial claims for unemployment compensation, and the U.S. economy grew at a slightly slower rate of 1.8 percent in the third quarter.

Some good news for the U.S. job market.

Weekly jobless claims moved down again to 364,000 from last week's revised 368,000, according to the Labor Department. A better indicator of the trend is the four-week moving average which was 380,250 for the week ended Dec. 17.

But while fewer people are filing initial claims for unemployment compensation, hiring remains muted.

The other economic statistic investors were keeping watch for this Thursday was the final reading on gross domestic product for the third quarter. The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised the rate to 1.8 percent from 2.0 percent. Forecasters had expected the growth rate to remain at 2.0 percent.

Greece may be synonymous with "debt crisis," but it does still have an economy that some U.S. companies want to be a part of.

Marlton-based Hill International said it is advising a Greek company on the privatization and redevelopment of the old Athens International Airport. The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund S.A. awarded the contract to Hill, a project management firm. (No dollar, or euro, signs were disclosed in the news release.)

Hill said the amount of coastal land involved is more than three times the size of Monaco.