Great Economic News from my Friends at the WSJ
Jobless Claims Near Four-Year Low
The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since April 2008.
Separately, the economy’s fourth quarter expansion was unrevised at 3.0%, while corporate profits moderated from the previous quarter.
The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since April 2008, showing the labor market is continuing its steady improvement this year.
Separately, the U.S. economy’s fourth quarter expansion was unrevised at 3.0%, while corporate profits moderated from the previous quarter.
Initial jobless claims fell by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 359,000 in the week ended March 24, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast that claims would increase by 2,000.
The prior week’s figure was revised to 364,000 from a previously reported 348,000. Labor made its annual adjustment to seasonal factors this week, causing revisions to claims data back to 2007. As a result, recent weeks’ figures were adjusted up.
The four-week moving average of claims, which smoothes out week-to-week volatility, decreased by 3,500 to 365,000.
For several weeks, new claims have hovered near levels last seen before the onset of the recent financial crisis. Since October, new benefit applications have remained below 400,000. When claims fall below that mark, economists say the economy typically adds jobs.
And that’s been happening in recent months. Nonfarm payrolls grew by 227,000 in February and the economy has added an average 245,000 jobs over the past three months. The March payroll report is due out next week.
Still, the unemployment rate remained high last month at 8.3% and may decline only gradually.
On Wednesday, a Business Roundtable survey of 128 U.S. chief executives found that 42% expect to increase payrolls at their firms in the next six months, but the pace of hiring is expected to be more modest than sales growth.