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US jobless claims fell to their lowest level since 1969

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) –┬áThe number of new jobless Americans fell last week to their lowest level in more than 48 years, signaling a slower pace of job growth in March.

The US Department of Labor said on Thursday that new jobless claims fell 24,000 to a revised average of seasonal factors of 209,000 for the week ending April 21. The previous week’s data were revised to show 1,000 additional requests above the initial reading.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected jobless claims to fall to 230,000 in the latest week.

The economy created 103,000 jobs in March, the lowest level in six months. But economists shrugged off the slowdown they saw as normal after strong gains in February.

The labor market looks close to full employment. The unemployment rate was at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, not far from the Federal Reserve’s forecast of 3.8 percent by the end of this year.

The average of four-week orders, a more accurate gauge of the labor market, fell 2250 to 229,250 last week.

The report shows that the number of people who continued to receive unemployment benefits after the first week fell by 29 thousand to 1.84 million for the week ending April 14.