Jobless claims drop for the third consecutive week indicating job market is gaining steam
Initial claims for unemployment benefits last week dropped 10,000 to a preliminary reading of 332,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 346,750, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 349,500, and a five-year low. This is the third consecutive week that first-time jobless claims have dropped, an indication that the labor market is gaining some steam. The report follows last week’s news that the economy added 236,000 jobs in February. The advance number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending March 2 was 3,024,000, a decrease of 89,000 from the preceding week. The 4-week moving average was 3,098,250, a decrease of 28,250 from the prior week. States reported 1,917,158 persons claiming emergency unemployment compensation in the week ending Feb. 23, an increase of 136,532 from the prior week, There were 7,424,041 claimants in the comparable week in 2012. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Feb. 23 was 5,619,860, an increase of 217,967 from the previous week. There were 7,424,041 387 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week of 2012. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 2 were in California, Kansas, Missouri, New York and Washington. The largest decreases were in Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts and North Carolina.