U.S. initial weekly jobless claims fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 258,000 in the week to Saturday, the Labor Department said. The tally exceeded forecasts.
Consensus expectations compiled by various news organizations called for initial claims to be around 245,000 to 247,000. The government revised the prior week’s tally to 261,000 claims from the previously reported 258,000.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it smoothens out week-to-week volatility – was up by 7,750 claims to 254,250.
Continuing jobless claims, the number of people already receiving benefits and reported with a one-week delay, increased by 65,000 to a seasonally adjusted 2,052,000 during the week ending March 18, the government said. The four-week moving average fell by 1,250 to 2,030,750.
Traders monitor jobs data closely to gauge how aggressively the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee alters monetary policy.
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