U.S. jobless claims lowest since 1973, consumer sentiment highest since 2004
Jobless claims dropped by 12,000 to 215,000 from the previous week's level, which was revised down by 2,000. Economists had been expecting claims of 230,000.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average came in at 224,500, down 500 from the previous week's average, which was revised up by 1,250 to 225,000.
Consumer sentiment in the US was revised a little lower on Thursday but the reading from the University of Michigan still came in at its highest level since 2004.
The index of consumer sentiment rose to 101.4 from 99.7 in February and 96.9 in March 2017, but was below the initial estimate of 102.
The current economic conditions index printed at 121.2 in March from 114.9 the month before and 96.9 the same month a year ago.
Meanwhile, the index of consumer expectations declined to 88.8 from 90.0 in February but was above last March's reading of 86.5.
A widely-followed gauge of factory sector activity fell back a bit more quickly than expected in March, reaching its lowest level in a year.
Market News International's Chicago manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index slipped from a reading of 61.9 in February to 57.4. ■