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Economic Report: U.S. jobless claims plunge to lowest level since 1969

The numbers: Initial jobless benefit claims fell by 28,000 to 187,000 in the week ended March 19, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.  

That’s the lowest level since September 1969.

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had expected claims to total 210,000.

Key details: The number of people already collecting jobless benefits fell by 67,000 to 1.35 million. These so-called continuing claims are at their lowest level since the 1970s.

Big picture: With workers scarce, companies are not laying off workers.

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell called the labor market is “extremely tight,” noting that wages are rising at the fastest pace in a long time. Layoffs are expected to remain low for now. Once looming Fed rate hikes bite, there could be some pain in the labor market. 

Market reaction: U.S. stocks
DJIA,
-1.29%

SPX,
-1.23%

were set to open higher Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
TMUBMUSD10Y,
2.378%

rose to 2.373%.

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