Jobless Claims ROSE by 14k during the week ended February 22nd to 348k, the highest level since end of January, compared with market expectations for a decrease to 335k. The prior week was revised slightly lower from 339k to 334k. The 4-week average was UNCHANGED at 338k and the 13 week average ROSE by 2k to 340k. Despite this week’s increase, initial claims have been on a declining trend over the past 3 years.
Continuing Claims ROSE by 8k during the week ended February 15th to 2,964k, after the prior week was revised slightly higher from 2,953k to 2,956k. The 4-week average ROSE by 4k to 2,955k. Despite this week's increase, continuing claims have also been on a declining trend for more than 3 years.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims FELL by 29k to 3,411k during the week ended February 8th. The Total Number of People Collecting Unemployment Compensation ROSE by 35k to 4,762k. Continuing claims have been declining amid modest volatility for the past three years.
The Insured Jobless Rate STAYED at 2.3% during the week ended February 15th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance, not those receiving federal emergency benefits.
Bottom Line: Initial claims climbed moderately and are at their highest level since the end of January. The 4-week average is at 338k, modestly below the 13-week average that is now 340k, indicating labor market trends are still slightly positive. Continuing claims rose slightly but remained on their 3-year long declining trend.