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U.S. weekly jobless claims fall; productivity improves

March 07, 2019 / Lucia Mutikani

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, pointing to strong labor market conditions despite signs that job growth was slowing. While other data on Thursday showed an improvement in worker productivity in the fourth quarter, the trend remained sluggish. Labor costs continued to rise at a moderate pace in the last quarter, suggesting benign inflation pressures that support the Federal Reserve’s “patient” stance towards further interest rate increases this year.