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.