U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Rebound From Lowest Level In A Year

A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rebounded from their lowest level in a year in the week ended March 27th.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 719,000, an increase of 61,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 658,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 680,000 from the 684,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The downwardly revised number of claims in the previous week was the lowest since the week ended March 14, 2020, just before the start of the coronavirus lockdowns.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the four-week moving average edged down to 719,000, a decrease of 10,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 729,500.

With the modest decrease, the less volatile four-week moving average dropped to its lowest level in over a year.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also fell to 3.794 million in the week ended March 20th, a decrease of 46,000 from the previous week’s revised level.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims slid to 3,978,500, a decrease of 147,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 4,125,750.

“The level of claims remains elevated – regular claims are still above the Global Financial Crisis peak – but we expect they will start to recede at a more rapid pace as the recovery gains momentum,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, “We look for a significant improvement in the labor market over the course of 2021, with a total of 7.5mn jobs added and the unemployment rate falling to 4.3% by the end of the year.”

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report for March.

Economists currently expect employment to jump by 647,000 jobs in March after climbing by 379,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 6.0 percent from 6.2 percent.

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