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Jobless claims average falls, but initial claims hit one-month high

March 14, 2019

The US four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 223,750 last week, down 2,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average, the US Department of Labor reported.

The four-week moving average smooths the volatility of the week-to-week numbers. Total initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended March 9 rose to 229,000, up 6,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level.

Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast claims edging up to 225,000. The number of jobless workers who applied for unemployment benefits last week rose to a one-month high, but the level of layoffs in the US remained extremely low, MarketWatch reported. Companies have had to beef up pay and benefits to attract or retain employees, leading to the strongest wage gains in a decade.

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