Jobless Claims Rise By More Than Expected to 198,000


Jobless claims came in above expectations for the week ended March 25 but were still below 200,000.

The Department of Labor said there were 198,000 initial claims for unemployment benefits, up 7,000 from the upwardly revised estimate for the previous week. That was a touch above the 195,000 forecast by economists.

Despite the larger-than-expected increase, jobless claims remain extremely low by historical standards, suggesting that demand for labor is still running very high. Jobless claims are considered a proxy for layoffs.

The four-week moving average of claims, which smoothes out week-to-week volatility, moved up to 198,250. This figure, which many economists view as a reliable guide to the health of the labor market, has not moved above 200,000 since mid-January.

Continuing claims, which are reported with a one-week delay, moved up 4,000 to 1.689 million. That was lower than expected, suggesting that workers who have lost their jobs are quickly finding new work.

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