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Washington — The number of people in the US filing applications for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to still strong labour market conditions, though the pace of job growth has slowed after 2018’s robust gains. Other data on Thursday showed a measure of factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region rebounding sharply this month after falling into negative territory in February for the first time in more than 30 months. But manufacturers were less upbeat about business conditions and capital spending over the next six months, supporting the view that the manufacturing sector is slowing in line with softening economic growth. The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday and its policymakers abandoned projections for further rate increases in 2019 , noting that “growth of economic activity has slowed from its solid rate in the fourth quarter”. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 221,000 for ...

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