Jobless claims continue to point to strength in the labor market with initial claims down 4,000 in the March 10 week to 226,000. The 4-week average, at 221,500, is down for the seventh time in the last nine weeks and is nearly 7,000 lower than it was a month ago. This is a favorable early indication for the March employment report.
Continuing claims also remain very favorable, at 1.879 million in lagging data for the March 3 week with this 4-week average down a noticeable 17,000 to a 1.891 million level that is nearly 30,000 below the month-ago comparison. The unemployment rate for insured workers remains very low, at only 1.3 percent.
There are no special factors in today's report, one that points to yet another strong monthly employment report.