Weekly jobless claim are indicating only the slightest improvement in the labor market. Initial claims fell 5,000 in the March 13 week to 457,000, following a 6,000 dip in the prior week. The four-week average fell 4,250 to 471,250, showing no significant change from February and well above readings in January.
Continuing claims, up 12,000 to 4.579 million in data for the March 6 week, are likewise indicating no improvement in the labor market. The four-week average for continuing claims, at 4.575 million, is only slightly lower than February levels. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged at 3.5 percent.
The economic recovery may be emerging but it looks to be a jobless recovery, at least so far. Markets were little changed in reaction to today's report which was accompanied by benign consumer-price headlines
Here's the chart:
The move down (letter A) was a very positive development. However, the circled area (B) is troublesome. While the bleeding has stopped we're still seeing job losses at uncomfortable levels.
I'll be looking at this data in more detail tomorrow.