(Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits tumbled to a 15-year low last week and consumer spending rose in March, signs the economy was regaining momentum after stumbling badly in the first quarter.
The economic outlook was brightened further by another report on Thursday showing a solid increase in wages in the first quarter, which should keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates this year.
“This morning’s reports all point to an economy that is doing a lot better than the near-stagnation in first-quarter GDP suggests,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000 for the week ended April 25, the lowest reading since April 2000, the Labor Department said.
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