The Labor Department said initial jobless claims unexpectedly declined by 12,000 to 215,000, easily beating the forecast for the week ending March 24. It’s the lowest level since January 27, 1973 when it was 214,000.
The previous week’s level was revised down by 2,000 from 229,000 to 227,000.
Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal.
The 4-week moving average was 224,500, a decrease of 500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,250 from 223,750 to 225,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.3% for the week ending March 17, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 17 was 1,871,000, an increase of 35,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 8,000 from 1,828,000 to 1,836,000.
The 4-week moving average decreased 12,750 from the previous week’s revised average to 1,861,500, the lowest level for this average since January 5, 1974 when it was 1,838,500. The previous week’s average was revised down by 6,250 from 1,880,500 to 1,874,250.
Extended benefits were payable in Alaska and the Virgin Islands during week ending March 10.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending March 10 were in the Virgin Islands (6.4), Alaska (3.4), New Jersey (2.9), Connecticut (2.8), Puerto Rico (2.7), Montana (2.5), Rhode Island (2.5), Massachusetts (2.4), California (2.3), and Illinois (2.3).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 17 were in New York (+1,218), New Jersey (+647), Connecticut (+540), Pennsylvania (+439), and Vermont (+296), while the largest decreases were in California (-2,425), Texas (-1,011), Georgia (-866), Michigan (-756), and Illinois (-480).