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US weekly jobless claims slightly increase, and Q1 GDP growth was revised higher

US weekly jobless claims rose moderately, according to the Labor Department figures released Thursday, indicating continued slow but steady improvement in the labor market.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 211,000 for the week ended April 20. The figures come as the economy shows signs of accelerating, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter of 2019 revised up slightly to 3.2% from a previously estimated 3.1%.

The latest data indicate that the labor market continued to expand in April, although at a slower pace than in March. The number of jobless claims fell to a nearly 50-year low of 202,000 in early April.

The latest jobless claims figures come a day after reports that growth in the US service sector slowed in April after months of gains. The figures suggest businesses may be in a holding pattern amid the impact of the US-China trade war, with businesses delaying investment decisions.

Meanwhile, a separate report from ADP and Moody’s Analytics showed private-sector employment grew by 275,000 in April, higher than a consensus estimate of 179,000. The report fueled investor expectations that March’s strong nonfarm payrolls number will be matched or exceeded in the next jobs report due out on Friday.