The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell 9,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 233,000 for the week ending April 7, slightly less than the median forecast.
The 4-week moving average increased 1,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 228,250 to 230,000.
Extended benefits were payable in Alaska and the Virgin Islands during the week ending March 24. Claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal.
While Easter can have an impact on jobless claims, the less-than-expected decline isn’t a positive for the monthly jobs report. However, even as they’ve been historically low, the government report on the employment situation has still lagged behind private sector data.
Speaking of lagging data, which is a bright spot in the weekly report, the insured unemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.3% for the week ending March 31. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 31 was 1,871,000, an increase of 53,000 from the previous week’s revised level.
The previous week’s level was revised up 10,000 from 1,808,000 to 1,818,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,850,250, a decrease of 1,500 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 highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending March 24 were in the Virgin Islands (4.6), Alaska (3.2), New Jersey (2.7), Connecticut (2.6), Puerto Rico (2.5), Massachusetts (2.4), Rhode Island (2.3), California (2.2), Montana (2.2), and Pennsylvania (2.2).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 31 were in Illinois (+2,504), Pennsylvania (+2,443), New Jersey (+2,081), Ohio (+1,496), and Michigan (+1,471), while the largest decreases were in Texas (-3,120), Connecticut (-1,005), Massachusetts (-877), Florida (-641), and New York (-556)