The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting the labor market remains strong despite a sharp slowdown in job growth in March.
Other data on Thursday showed producer prices falling in March for the first time in seven months. Prices, however, recorded their biggest year-on-year increase in five years. The reports pointed to a steadily firming economy and could allow the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates again in June.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 1,000to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended April 8, the Labor Department said. That was the third straight weekly decline in claims and left them not too far from a 44-year low of 227,000 hit in February.
“Claims remain low, adding to the evidence that the slowing in payrolls in March was due to weather effects,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics