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Updated: U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Fall To 268K

By Kitco News
Thursday April 2, 2015 8:30 AM

Editor's Note: The article was updated to include comments from CIBC. The article was updated a second time with comments from TD Securities.

(Kitco News) - First-time weekly jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 268,000 during the week to Saturday, the Labor Department said Thursday.

According to reports, jobless claims are close to touching a 15-year low, coming in slightly higher than they were at the start of the year. In January claimes fell to 267,000.

The data was well below economists' expectations, which according to consensus forecasts were for claims to rise only slightly to 286,000. Last week's claims were revised up by 6,000 claims to 288,000.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it smoothens out week-to-week volatility – was down by 14,750 claims to 285,500.

Continuing jobless claims, the number of people already receiving benefits and reported with a one-week delay, dropped by 88,000 to a seasonally adjusted 2.33 million during the week ending March 21.

Avery Shenfeld, senior economist at CIBC World Markets said the surprise decline in jobless claims shows that the labor market is strong. Economists started to raise doubts about the current job growth pace after private payrolls processor ADP said 189,000 jobs were created in March, well below expectations.

Cheng Chen U.S. strategist from TD Securities, said that although some seasonal factors probably led to the dramatic drop in weekly jobless claims, the data point to future job growth.

“This indicator has recently resumed its downward drift, hinting at further improvement in the coming months. The gradual improvement in continuing claims is particularly encouraging and is consistent with recent declines in the unemployment rate, suggesting that unemployed workers continue to find gainful employment,” he said.

 

By Neils Christensen of Kitco News nchristensen@kitco.com

 

 

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