The Number of Americans on Unemployment Has Dropped to a 17-Year Low

New applications for U.S. jobless benefits rose slightly more than expected last week, but a drop in the number of Americans on unemployment rolls to a 17-year low suggested the labor market continues to tighten.

The labor market's strength was underscored by other data on Thursday showing manufacturers in the mid-Atlantic region hired more workers this month and increased working hours, even as factory activity slowed from March's brisk pace.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits...

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