The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to sustained labor strength even as economic growth appears to have slowed early in the first quarter.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 226,000 for the week ended March 10, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Data for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 fewer applications received than previously reported. Claims dropped to 210,000 during the week ended Feb. 24, which was the lowest level since December 1969.

Last week’s drop in claims was in line with economists’ expectations. It was the 158th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller.

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