Jobless claims in U.S. declined less than forecast last week

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(Bloomberg) - Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits declined last week by less than forecast, while remaining at levels consistent with a solid labor market, a Labor Department report showed Thursday.

Key points

  • Jobless claims decreased by 3,000 to 258,000 (forecast was 247,000) in the week ended March 25
  • The prior week’s reading was unrevised at 261,000
  • The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits increased by 65,000 to 2.05 million in the week ended March 18 (data reported with one-week lag)

Big picture
While claims are near the highest level this year, weekly filings have been below 300,000 since early 2015, a level that economists consider consistent with a healthy labor market. U.S. employers remain reluctant to let go of staff amid steady economic growth and increased difficulty finding workers with relevant skills and experience.

Other Details

  • Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, increased to 254,250, the highest since December, from 246,500 in the prior week
  • The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits rose to 1.5% from 1.4%
  • Two states had estimated claims last week: Hawaii and Louisiana
  • There was nothing unusual in the broader data, according to the Labor Department
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