There were 336,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, up 2,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.
The big news here is that the 4-week moving average was 339,750, a drop from of 7,5000 from last week and the lowest level in 5 years.
“‘We’ve been surprised over the last few weeks as claims have continued to fall,’ Sean Incremona, senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York, said before the report. Incremona projected 335,000 initial claims. ‘There is definitely progress in the labor market, though mostly through a reduction in layoffs.’
“Estimates for first-time claims ranged from 325,000 to 352,000 in the Bloomberg survey of 47 economists. The prior week’s applications were revised to a seven-week low of 334,000 after an initially reported 332,000.”