A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly jobs, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a bigger than expected rebound in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended March 3rd.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims climbed to 231,000, an increase of 21,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 210,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 220,000.
The bigger than expected increase came after jobless claims fell to their lowest level since December of 1969 in the previous week.
The report said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged up to 222,500, an increase of 2,000
from the previous week’s unrevised average of 220,500.
The Labor Department noted claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal.
Meanwhile, the report said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment benefits, fell by 64,000 to 1.870 million in the week ended February 24th.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims also dropped to 1,906,750, a decrease of 14,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,921,000.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its report on the employment situation in the month of February.
Employment is expected to jump by 200,000 jobs in February, matching the increase seen in January. The unemployment rate is expected to dip to 4.0 percent from 4.1 percent.