Initial Claims Inch Lower

March 7, 2002 ( - The number of the newly unemployed applying for unemployment benefits dipped last week, according to new data from the Department of Labor.

First time jobless claims totaled 376,00 in the week ending March 2, 5,000 lower than the previous week’s total of 381,000.

Claims peaked last year on September 29 at 535,000, and have remained below 400,000 so far this year.

The four-week moving average, a more reliable indicator of the unemployment situation because it smoothes out weekly volatility followed suit, dipping by 1,250 to 372,750, the lowest level since August last year.