Initial jobless claims drop more than expected to a 5-month low

Initial jobless claims fell more than expected last week, to 259,000.

That’s the lowest level since October 16.

Economists had estimated, according to Bloomberg, that first-time filings for unemployment insurance totaled 275,000. The prior period’s print was revised lower by 1,000 to 277,000.

Claims have now run under 300,000 for a full year, as the labour market continues to accelerate towards full employment.

The four-week moving average, which accounts for volatility, fell by 2,500 to 267,500. It declined for a fourth straight week.

In a note, JP Morgan’s Daniel Silver wrote:

There was also improvement in other claims data released in today’s report. Continuing claims declined 32,000 to 2.225mn during the week ending February 27 while the related four-week average edged down 5,000 to 2.252mn.

The insured unemployment rate ticked back to down to 1.6% during that same week, returning to the most favourable level reported in the history of the series dating back to 1971 that has been reached many times over the past year.

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