U.S. first-time jobless claims up by 5K to 320K

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits for the first time climbed slightly higher last week, signaling stabilization in the labor market.

In the week ended March 15, initial unemployment claims — which gauges the layoff trends across the country — jumped by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000, according to the Labor Department report released Thursday. The reading is in line with economists’ estimate in a poll by the Dow Jones Newswires.

The previous week’s claims figures were unrevised at 315,000.

The four-week moving average of claims — a broader figure that removes the volatility of the week-to-week data — declined by 3,500 to 327,000, the report said. The figure is the lowest since the end of November.

The number of jobless claims continues to be under the 400,000 level, which many economists view as the threshold for an expanding job market.

In the week ended March 8, the number of continuing unemployment benefits workers received rose by 41,000 to 2,889,000, according to Thursday’s report. The figure for continuing claims, which are those drawn by workers for more than one week, are reported with a one-week lag.

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