Jobless claims rose 7% last week to 397,000
Initial jobless claims rose 7% last week, moving away from the nearly three-year low of the prior week although remaining lower than 400,000 once again. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended March 5 increased by 26,000 to 397,000. Initial claims for the prior week were 371,000, which was revised upward a few thousand by the Labor Department. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 385,000 new jobless claims with a range of estimates between 370,000 to 400,000. A Briefing.com survey projected new claims of 370,000 for last week. Economists polled by MarketWatch projected claims to come in at 378,000. Most economists believe claims lower 400,000 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, rose by 3,000 to 392,250 from 389,250, which was revised downward considerably. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained 3% for the week ended Feb. 26, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended Feb. 19 slipped below 9 million, falling 5% to about 8.8 million from 9.2 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw.