Although the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose the week of Mar. 18 due to 2,000 applications not previously reported, claims remain below 300,000 — a threshold linked to a healthy, strengthening labor market.
Last week, the Labor Department reported an increase of state unemployment benefits of 15,000 and adjusted the seasonal number to 258,000. On Thursday, it increased the application number by 2,000 in revised claims data going back to 2012, then published new seasonal factors for 2017.
Another measure of unemployment reports that jobless claims only rose 1,000 to 240,000 the week of Mar. 18. This measure looks at a four-week moving average of claims and is deemed a more accurate measure of labor market trends due to week-to-week volatility.
The four-week unemployment claims average fell 7,750 between February’s and March’s survey weeks, which suggests March is proving to be another period of positive job growth.
In the past three months, job growth has averaged 209,000 each month and the unemployment rate is at 4.7 percent, almost hitting the nine-year low of 4.6 percent reported in November 2016.
The Labor Department also reported that the labor market is currently near full employment, and the number of individuals continuing to receive unemployment benefits after one week of aid fell 39,000 to 2.0 million in the week of Mar. 11.
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