U.S. jobless claims up slightly; current account gap widens

Someone 'signing on'
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(Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose marginally last week, indicating the labor market remained on solid footing despite slowing economic growth.

Output has slowed in the first quarter, undercut by a harsh winter, a strong dollar, weaker overseas growth and a now-settled labor dispute at West Coast ports, mostly transitory factors that should fade by the second quarter.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday acknowledged the moderation in growth, but maintained its upbeat view of the jobs market and signaled it was nearing an interest rate increase by dropping the reference to being "patient" from its so-called forward guidance.