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Economic Report: U.S. jobless claims fall 5,000 to 180,000, showing labor market ‘in excellent shape’

The numbers: Initial jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 180,000 in the week ended April 23, the Labor Department said Thursday.  

The decline was in line with forecasts of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

Key details: The number of people already collecting state jobless benefits, meanwhile, slid by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1.41 million in the week ended April 16. These so-called continuing claims are at their lowest level since early 1970.

Big picture: Claims are near multi-decade lows as demand for workers keeps layoffs low, said Rubeella Farooqi, economist at High Frequency Economics. Any increase in claims would be a leading indicator of a slowing economy, but there are no signs of it now, economists say.

Market snapshot: Stocks
DJIA,
+0.19%

SPX,
+0.21%

were set to open higher Thursday on better-than-expected earnings reports.

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