The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits is at its lowest level in seven years, a sign the job market is steadily improving. The Labor Department says weekly unemployment benefit applications dropped 24,000 to 297,000 last week, the fewest since May of 2007.

The government also reports today that higher food and gas costs pushed up U.S. consumer prices in April by the most in 10 months, evidence that inflation is ticking up from very low levels.