In mixed results, initial jobless claims rose 15,000 to a 7-week high of 258,000 but the 4-week average, reflecting how low recent levels have been, rose only 1,000 to 240,000. The reporting week is March 18 which is also the sample week for the March employment report and a comparison with the February sample week shows only limited change for the headline, at plus 4,000, and a bit more sizable and favorable change for the 4-week average, down 7,750.
Continuing claims, where data lag by a week, show significant improvement, down 39,000 in the March 11 week to 2.000 million with this 4-week average down 32,000 to 2.027 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers (which excludes job leavers and re-entrants) is at a new low, at 1.4 percent for a 1 tenth downtick.
Today's report includes annual revisions and a new standout reading, a 210,000 headline for initial claims in the February 25 week which is the best result since 1969. Labor is in demand which points to another healthy employment report for March.
The March 18 sample week for initial jobless claims was also the sample week of the monthly employment report and the results will offer the first hints whether the labor market in March is proving as healthy as February and January. Forecasters see initial claims little changed in the week, at a consensus 240,000 vs 241,000 in the prior week.