The Department of Labour has reported initial jobless claims fell to 323,000 during the week ending March 1 from 349,000 the week prior.

This was lower than the 336,000 expected.

“At last, some good news from the labour market, supporting our view that last week’s jump in claims to 349K was triggered by winter storm Pax,” said Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson. “That said, the seasonals are friendly this

week; we need to see more than just one week’s data to confirm

that the underlying trend in claims remains about flat behind

all the weather-induced noise.”

The 4-week moving average is at 336,500, down from 338,500.

“If claims stay down, big job snapback is in store,” tweeted Deustche Bank’s Joe LaVorgna.

Continuing claims fell to 2.907 million from 2,915 million.

“While the Labour Department suggested that the fluctuations in claims coincide with winter storms, the gradual improvement in the 4-week moving average of claims remains a positive development,” said TD Securities’ Gennadiy Goldberg. “The modest improvement in claims should continue to signal that further declines in claims should help push nonfarm payrolls back into the 175-225K range over the coming months”

The Bureau of Labour Statistics will publish the February employment situation report on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists estimate U.S. companies added 150,000 nonfarm payrolls during the month.

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