First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits saw a modest decrease in the week ended March 11th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 241,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 243,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 240,000.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average inched up to 237,250, an increase of 750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 236,500.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, fell by 30,000 to 2.030 million in the week ended March 4th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also dropped to 2,054,250, a decrease of 11,750 from the previous week's revised average of 2,066,000.
Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of February.
The report said non-farm payroll employment jumped by 235,000 jobs in February after surging up by a revised 238,000 jobs in January.
Economists had expected employment to climb by about 195,000 jobs compared to the addition of 227,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
With the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate edged down to 4.7 percent in February from 4.8 percent in January, matching expectations.
The report also said the annual rate of growth in average hourly employee earnings accelerated to 2.8 percent in February from 2.6 percent in January.
by RTT Staff Writer
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