The market expected (from Bloomberg) were 270,000 to 278,000 (consensus 272,000), and the Department of Labor reported 259,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 270,000 (reported last week as 270,250) to 267,500. The rolling averages generally have been equal to or under 300,000 since August 2014.
It should be pointed out that Econintersect watches the year-over-year change on the 4 week moving average. There is always some seasonality which migrates into the seasonally adjusted data, and year-over-year comparisons helps remove some seasonality. The four week rolling average of initial claims are 11.8 % lower (improvement from the 11.5 % for last week) than they were in this same week in 2015.
Claim levels are at 40 year lows (with the normal range around 350,000 weekly initial unemployment claims of levels seen historically during times of economic expansion - see chart below).
From the Department of Labor:
In the week ending March 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 259,000, a decrease of 18,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000 from 278,000 to 277,000. The 4-week moving average was 267,500, a decrease of 2,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 270,250 to 270,000. There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6 percent for the week ending February 27, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 27 was 2,225,000, a decrease of 32,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 2,257,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,252,000, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 2,256,500.
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