Average jobless claims lower despite headline number


Seasonally-adjusted jobless claims dipped 6,000 to 462,000 for the week ending 6 Mar 2010. This is significantly lower than the revised 498,000 number we saw two weeks prior. Nevertheless, 4-week average jobless claims are still over 475,000. This number is actually higher than the previous week’s 470,500 average.


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At least we are seeing some incipient signs that hiring is likely to pick up. The JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) released yesterday showed a nice pickup in open position and a fall in total layoffs. As the data are not as real-time as the jobless claims data, things might be a bit better still for data released about February and March.


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Bottom Line: The labor market remains weak. I had anticipated growth in non-farm payrolls by the end of this quarter. However, given the still elevated claims numbers, we may not get there.

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