Weekly jobless claims rose 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 229,000 for the week ending March 17, slightly higher than the forecast but still historically low. These levels are indicative of a very strong demand for labor.
The 4-week moving average was 223,750, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 221,500.
Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal from the hurricanes. Extended benefits were payable in Alaska and the Virgin Islands during the week ending March 3.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was unchanged at a very low 1.3% for the week ending March 10 and the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured declined by 57,000 to 1,828,000.
This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since December 29, 1973 when it was 1,805,000.
The previous week’s level was revised up 6,000 from 1,879,000 to 1,885,000 and the 4-week moving average was 1,880,500, a decrease of 11,750 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since January 5, 1974 when it was 1,838,500.
The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,500 from 1,890,750 to 1,892,250.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending March 3 were in the Virgin Islands (9.7), Alaska (3.8), Puerto Rico (3.0), Connecticut (2.8), New Jersey (2.8), Montana (2.7), Pennsylvania (2.6), Rhode Island (2.6), Massachusetts (2.5), and California (2.4).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 10 were in California (+1,834), Florida (+923), Kentucky (+781), Puerto Rico (+545), and Georgia (+441), while the largest decreases were in New York (-18,154), Oregon (-1,367), Washington (-1,218), Wisconsin (-684), and Connecticut (-612).