According to data from the US Department of Labor (DoL), total unemployment claims jumped for the second report in a row to 417,000 for the week ending February 22, from a revised 406,000 the previous week. The latest report was the highest its been since the 438,000 figure for the December 14, 2002 week.
For the week ending February 15, claims rose by 21,000 (See Jobless Claim Decreases End With Unexpectedly Steep Hike ).
Economists participating in Reuters’ regular poll were way wide of the mark for the February 22 week, predicting a 386,000 claims total.
The closely watched four-week moving average reached 399,750 in the February 22 week, up from 395,750 in the prior week. Economists view the four-week average as a better gauge of labor market trends because it irons out short-term fluctuationsIn the solitary bright spot, the number of workers continuing to file for benefits fell to 3.38 million in the week ended February 15, the latest week that data is available, from a revised 3.42 million the previous week.