The Labor Department said on Thursday weekly jobless claims increased 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 243,000 for the week ended March 4. Claims for the prior week were unrevised at 223,000, the lowest level since March 1973.
The four-week moving average–which is widely considered a better gauge, as it irons out volatility–was 236,500, an gain of 2,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 234,250.
No state was triggered “on” the Extended Benefits program during the week ending February 18 and the report marks the 105th straight week that weekly jobless claims remained below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending February 18 were in Alaska (4.4), New Jersey (3.1), Connecticut (2.9), Montana (2.9), Rhode Island (2.9), Massachusetts (2.7), Pennsylvania (2.7), Puerto Rico (2.7), Illinois (2.6), and California (2.5).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending February 25 were in Massachusetts (+3,006), Rhode Island (+981), Vermont (+212), Maine (+151), and Louisiana (+142), while the largest decreases were in California (-5,600), Michigan (-3,394), Pennsylvania (-2,762), Washington (-2,179), and New York (-1,980).