Jobless claims rise 26K to 397K, while continuing claims continue dropping

DOL reports a 26K increase in initial jobless claims for the March 5 week to a higher-than-expected level of 397K. The gain follows two prior weeks of sharp decreases reflected in the four-week average which rose only slightly to 392K. A month-ago comparison still shows significant improvement of nearly 25K.

The real employment situation shines through in the continuing claims, which extended their decline, down 20K in data for the February 26 week to 3.771 MM. Continuing claims have fallen for five of the last six weeks. This is a definite positive trend for employment.

Although today's report was generally positive, it should give slight pause on hopes for a strong jobs recovery.  But there is still hope for meaningful improvement.  Via DOL:

In the week ending March 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 397,000, an increase of 26,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 371,000. The 4-week moving average was 392,250, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised average of 389,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending Feb. 26, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate of 3.0 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Feb.26 was 3,771,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,791,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,833,250, a decrease of 34,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,868,000. 

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