Jobless Claims Hit 5-Year Low

Initial jobless claims fell 2.9% to a seasonally adjusted 332,000 for the week ending March 9, according to a Labor Department report released today. After the previous week's revised 1.4% drop, this latest jobs report marks the third straight week of declines in initial claims. Market analysts had forecast a 2.9% increase.

The real cause for celebration comes from this week's longer-term look. As declines remain consistent, the four-week moving average crept down to 346,750 to reach its lowest level of the recovery, according to The Wall Street Journal. The AP reports that the four-week average notched its lowest level since the week of  March 8, 2008.

Both the most recent week's number and the moving average clocked in solidly below 400,000, a cutoff point that economists consider a sign of an improving labor market. This latest news also comes one week after the Labor Department announced an unemployment rate drop to 7.7% for February.

Source: Author, data from Labor Department.

On a state-by-state basis, Massachusetts and North Carolina led the drop in initial claims for the week ended March 2 (most recent available data). Both states cited fewer layoffs in the transportation industry as one of the primary reasons for their respective 4,190- and 1,150-claim dips. After California's initial claims fell a whopping 40,350 the previous week, the Golden State in the most recent jobs report registered the largest week-to-week increase in initial claims (11,720), due primarily to service sector layoffs.


The article Jobless Claims Hit 5-Year Low originally appeared on

You can follow Justin Loiseau on Twitter, @TMFJLo, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFJLo.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read Full Story

Can't get enough business news?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from retailer news to the latest IPOs delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.