Jobless claims fell another 5% last week
Initial jobless claims fell another 5% last week coming in lower than most analysts' estimates and remaining below 400,000. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Feb. 26 decreased by 20,000 to 368,000. Initial claims for the prior week were 388,000, which was revised downward a few thousand by the Labor Department. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 395,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 388,000 to 405,000. A Briefing.com survey projected new claims of 400,000. Economists polled by MarketWatch projected claims to come in at 398,000. New claims once again were lower than 400,000. Most economists believe claims lower than that indicate the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening. The four-week moving average, which is considered a less volatile indicator than weekly claims, fell by 12,750 to 388,500 from a slightly revised average of 401,250. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate slid to 3.0% for the week ended Feb. 19 from 3.1% the prior week, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended Feb. 12 inched higher to about 9.24 million from 9.16 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw.