Initial unemployment claims climbed to 320,000 during the week ending March 15 from 315,000 the week prior.
This was a bit lower than the 322,000 expected.
The 4-week moving average slipped to 327,000 from 330,500.
“The smaller than expected increase in claims is particularly positive for March nonfarm payroll prospects,” said TD Securities Gennadiy Goldberg. “Despite the increase in claims this week, we expect initial claims in the 315K-335K range to remain consistent with monthly payroll reports in the 175K-225K range, suggesting that labour market momentum should improve more notably as negative weather effects begin to abate in the spring.”
Continuing claims climbed to 2.889 million from 2.848 million.
“We look for the continuing claims series to continue drifting lower in the coming weeks — consistent with recent declines in the unemployment rate,” said Goldberg.