Initial jobless claims continue to post very favorable readings that remain near historical lows, at 222,000 in the February 17 week down 7,000 from the previous week's downward revised level, taking the 4-week average to 226,000, just shy of the 45-year low seen two weeks ago. The average is down about 13,500 from this time last month.
Further pointing to strength in the February employment report, continuing claims, in lagging data for the February 10 week, fell by 73,000 from the previous week to 1.875 million. The 4-week average is down 16,250 to 1.927 million, with the unemployment rate for insured workers falling 0.1 percentage points to just 1.3 percent. There are no special factors in today's report.