Jobless Claims Decline to 192,000 as Insured Unemployment Rate Rises to 1.2%
On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims declined by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 192,000 in the week ending March 11. The 4-week moving average of claims, which smoothes out some of the week-to-week fluctuations, decreased by 750 to 196,500, staying below the 200,000 mark for 8 consecutive weeks.
Continuing claims, representing the number of people already receiving benefits, decreased by 29,000 to 1.68 million in the week ended March 4. This marks a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's revised level of 1,713,000.
Last week, there was an increase in the amount of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits. According to the Labor Department figures released on Thursday, the initial claims for state unemployment benefits for the week ending March 4 rose by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 211,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2% for the week ending February 25, an increase of 0.1 percentage points from the previous week's unrevised rate. This is the highest rate since December 2020. Analysts have forecast that the unemployment rate will rise to 4.6 percent by the end of this year, a sizable increase historically associated with recessions.
Overall, the numbers indicate that layoffs in the U.S. remain quite low despite more stress on the economy. The recent rise in jobless claims is mainly driven by spikes in California and New York. It remains to be seen if the numbers will continue to increase in the weeks ahead.
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