US weekly jobless claims up; continuing claims hit 17-year low

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New applications for US jobless benefits rose slightly more than expected last week, but a drop in the number of Americans on unemployment rolls to a 17-year low suggested that the labour market continues to tighten.

Other data on Thursday showed factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region slowed in April amid a pullback in new orders and shipments. But, factories hired more workers and increased working hours, underscoring the labour market's strength.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 2,44,000 for the week ended April 15, the Labour Department said on Thursday. The increase followed three straight weeks of declines.
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