The latest weekly jobless claimant count fell by 20,000 to a nine-month low of 268,000 through the week-ending March 28. The report is the final reading before the much-anticipated March payroll reading, where the Bloomberg forecast of economists calls for an improvement of 245,000 new nonfarm jobs. The latest weekly reading, however, is inconsistent with either the private ADP counterpart or the standstill in employment activity contained within the ISM manufacturing survey (both released on Wednesday).
The initial claims data is consistent with continued healthy prints of 200,000+ for the US labor market. The nonfarm payroll survey is taken during the week containing the 12th of each month. The initial claims reading for the week-ending March 14, was 293,000, a number still consistent with payrolls above 200,000. By this analysis, economic bulls should have little to worry about when payroll data is released when exchanges are closed on Friday. A key point to note in the latest reading is that the unemployment rate among the insured fell to 1.7% through the week-ending March 21, contained in today’s report. That measure, and the lowest in eight-years, tends to track rather well the national rate of unemployment, which stood at 5.5% at the end of February.
Chart – Unemployment rate among insured claimants also fell