Report suggests economy recovering

The economy showed encouraging but inconclusive signs of shaking off its slump last week, when the government reported slight drops in business inventories and claims for jobless benefits.
The number of workers seeking first-time jobless benefits fell by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 373,000 in the week ended Feb. 9, from a revised 381,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said.
In a separate report, the Commerce Department said business inventories fell for the 11th straight month, dropping 0.4 percent and raising hopes production will need to satisfy consumer demand.
In a third report issued, the Labor Department said import prices rose in January for the first time since May, increasing 0.4 percent, mostly due to climbing oil prices. Prices for nonpetroleum items rose only 0.1 percent. The jump in import prices is the biggest since September 2000.