by Wall Street Job Report on March 29, 2012
The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since April 2008, showing the labor market is continuing its steady improvement this year.
Separately, the U.S. economy’s fourth quarter expansion was unrevised at 3.0%, while corporate profits moderated from the previous quarter.
Initial jobless claims fell by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 359,000 in the week ended March 24, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast that claims would increase by 2,000.
The prior week’s figure was revised to 364,000 from a previously reported 348,000. Labor made its annual adjustment to seasonal factors this week, causing revisions to claims data back to 2007. As a result, recent weeks’ figures were adjusted up.
The four-week moving average of claims, which smoothes out week-to-week volatility, decreased by 3,500 to 365,000.
For several weeks, new claims have hovered near levels last seen before the onset of the recent financial crisis. Since October, new benefit applications have remained below 400,000. When claims fall below that mark, economists say the economy typically adds jobs.