Jobless claims are not pointing to any improvement in the labor market with initial claims up 14,000 in the February 22 week to a 348,000 level that's just outside the high end of the Econoday consensus. The 4-week average is unchanged at 338,250 which is slightly higher than the month-ago trend in a reading that points to no improvement for the monthly employment report.
Continuing claims tell mostly the same story, up 8,000 in data for the February 15 week to 2.964 million. But the 4-week average, at 2.955 million, is a bit lower than the month-ago comparison. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged for a second week at 2.3 percent. This rate has been at 2.2 or 2.3 percent since December.
There are no special factors in today's report which will not lift estimates for next week's employment report for February.
Initial jobless claims for the February 15 week, which is also the sample week for the monthly employment report, edged 3,000 lower to 336,000. The 4-week average rose slightly to a 338,500 level that, in a slight negative, is 6,250 higher than the January 18 week which was the sample week for the January employment report. Continuing claims, which are reported with a one week lag, rose 37,000 to 2.981 million. The 4-week average, at 2.960 million, was right in line with the month-ago trend, which again points to little change in the jobs market.