Another drop in U.S. initial unemployment benefits claims last week

UI claims filings continue to fall nationally. The U.S. Department of Labor reports,

In the week ending February 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 215,000, a decrease of 18,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 232,000 to 233,000. The 4-week moving average was 230,500, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 236,250 to 236,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week ending February 19, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

CNBC adds the news that productivity is up

  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 215,000, below the 225,000 estimate.
  • That was the lowest level since Jan. 1 and comes a day ahead of the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report for February.
  • A separate report showed Q4 productivity up 6.6%, slightly less than expected, but with a rise in unit labor costs that was well ahead of estimates.

From Reuters:

The upbeat reports on Thursday bode well for February’s employment report on Friday. Economists are anticipating another month of solid job growth, with the Omicron COVID-19 variant wave of infections significantly diminished.

“Jobless claims at a new low since Omicron are a signal of a stronger employment report tomorrow where the labor market is leaving its pandemic woes behind it,” said Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS in New York.

These are obviously fraught times. This is good news, with uncertainty still high.