Inflation Trending Higher as Labor Market Tightening

The number of Americans filing for unemployment aid unexpectedly fell last week and consumer sentiment rose early this month amid continued optimism over household finances, suggesting a sharp slowdown in job growth in March was an aberration.

While other data on Thursday showed producer prices falling in March for the first time in seven months, prices recorded their biggest year-on-year increase in five years. The reports pointed to a steadily firming economy and could encourage the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates again in June.

“Today’s reports are generally consistent with the Fed’s narrative that the economy is close to full employment and some inflationary pressures are building,” said Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended April 8, the Labor Department said. That was the third straight weekly decline



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