2017 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 3/9/2017 8:30:00 AM For wk3/4, 2017
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level223 K238 K234 K to 240 K243 K
4-week Moving Average - Level234.25 K236.50 K
New Claims - Change-19 K20 K

Initial claims rose 20,000 in the March 4 week to a higher-than-expected 243,000 but the data remain very favorable for the labor market. The weekly rise, which comes off a deep low of 223,000 in the prior week, lifts the 4-week average slightly to a 236,500 level which is still nearly 10,000 below the month-ago comparison.

Continuing claims, in lagging data for the February 25 week, also remain very favorable, down 6,000 to 2.058 million. This 4-week average is also down slightly to 2.066 million which is also trending lower. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged at a very low 1.5 percent.

Putting week-to-week swings aside, unemployment claims are remarkably low and point to strong demand for labor which is good news going into tomorrow's employment report for February. There are no special factors in today's report.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims have remained very favorable, at new 40-year lows and running more than 5,000 below January's levels which points to strength for the February employment report. Continuing claims have also been coming down, running about 20,000 below a month ago. Forecasters are calling for an increase from the prior week's cycle low of 223,000 in initial claims, at a consensus 238,000 for the March 4 week.

New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing (decreasing) trend suggests a deteriorating (improving) labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.  Why Investors Care
Weekly series fluctuate more dramatically than monthly series even when the series are adjusted for seasonal variation. The 4-week moving average gives a better perspective on the underlying trend.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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