Jobless Claims Hit Record Low

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WASHINGTON - New applications for U.S. jobless benefits fell more than expected last week and the number of Americans on unemployment rolls hit a 17-year low, pointing to a tightening labor market that could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next month. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 238,000 for the week ended April 29, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The decline unwound most of the prior two weeks' increases in applications. The latest claims report has no bearing on April's employment report, which is scheduled for release on Friday, as it falls outside the survey period.

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