New applications for U.S. jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week and the number of Americans on unemployment rolls tumbled to a 28-1/2-year low, pointing to rapidly shrinking labor market slack.
The economy’s brightening prospects were further boosted by other data on Thursday showing a sharp acceleration in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region in May as manufacturers reported a jump in goods shipments and more hours for workers.
In addition, a gauge of future U.S. economic activity rose again in April.
The raft of upbeat economic data supports an interest rate hike next month, though the Federal Reserve’s decision could also hinge on the state of financial markets, which have been rattled in recent days by President Donald Trump’s scandals.
The cloud over Trump, stemming from his firing last week of the FBI chief and reports that the U.S. leader disclosed national security information to Russian officials, is seen as