U.S. Jobless Claims Increase by 20,000 to 243,000

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rebounded from a 44-year low last week, but still remained at a healthy labor market conditions. Initial claims for unemployment benefits increased 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 243,000 in the week ended March. 4, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were unrevised at 223,000, the lowest level since March 1973.

Economists polled by Reuters had estimated initial claims to rise to 235,000 in the latest week. According to a Labor Department analyst, there were no special factors impacting last week’s claims data. The Jobless claims have been below 300,000 for 105 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970. At that time, the data base was much smaller than today.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure of labor market trends, fell by 2,250 to 236,500 last week.

The labor market is close to full employment. The continued strength in the labor market supported Fed’s decision to raise interest rate this month. The odds of a rate hike this month rose to 100 percent, according to Bloomberg. Trader are closely watching the nonfarm payroll tomorrow.

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