The DOL reports:
In the week ending March 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 332,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 342,000. The 4-week moving average was 346,750, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 349,500.
The previous week was revised up from 340,000.
The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since January 2000.
The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims decreased to 346,750 – this is the lowest level since early March 2008.
Weekly claims were below the 350,000 consensus forecast. Claims might increase over the next few months due to the “sequestration” budget cuts, but right now initial unemployment claims suggest an improving labor market.