Jobless claims, the lowest of the recovery, break below 400K at 368,000

In what has been the clearest indicator of future payroll growth thusfact, initial jobless fell to 20K in the Feb 26 week on top of a 25K decline in the prior week. The number of claims, at 368K, is the third sub 400K reading in the last four weeks (note the February 19 week was revised 3K lower to 388K). The four-week average, down 12,750 to 388,500, is the first sub 400K reading of the recovery. Importantly, there is no asterisk on the data because of the weather or a shortened week.

Continuing claims are also lower, down 59K in data for the Feb 19 week to 3.774 MM which is also a recovery low. The four-week average is down 40K to 3.864 MM with the unemployment rate for insured workers slipping one tenth to 3.0%. Via BLS:

In the week ending Feb. 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 368,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000. The 4-week moving average was 388,500, a decrease of 12,750 from the previous week's revised average of 401,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending Feb. 19, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's revised rate of 3.1 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Feb.19 was 3,774,000, a decrease of 59,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,833,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,863,750, a decrease of 40,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,904,250.
As you can see from the chart below, we seem to be in the process of making another drop downward into positive job creation territory.  No jobs won't be back tomorrow, but marginally, it seems there is more hiring going on than jobs being lost.  That is a good thing. 

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