The U.S. Labor Department has released, yet again, another somewhat disappointing reading for weekly jobless claims. Initial claims rose by a sharp 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted reading of 320,000. Bloomberg was calling for a consensus reading of 300,000 claims for the week ending February 27. The previous reading was 313,000.
What stands out here is that this jump in weekly jobless claims was higher than every single expectation of the economists that had been polled. It is also worth noting that this is the single highest reading since May of 2014.
The four-week average rose by 10,250 to 304,750 claims. Continuing claims, what we call the army of the unemployed (and which have a one-week lag) increased by 17,000 to 2.421 million. The advance seasonal adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.8% for the week ending February 21.
As is usually the case, the Labor Department again said that no special factors had an impact on the week’s initial jobless claims.