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First Cut: Jobless claims report in March 9 week unremarkable

The data on initial jobless claims in the March 9 week was unremarkable in that there is relatively little to remark on. The 6,000 increase to 229,000 was a bit above expectations, but certainly not out of line with the recent trend. The Labor Department cited no special factors and no states estimated the data.

The next few weeks may be more of a rocky ride. A massive late winter storm has hit the Midwest and will likely have impacts across a wide region. The immediate effect may not be as obvious due to the fact that the seasonal adjustment is prepared for increases related to spring break for school districts, and some school districts may be taking their spring breaks later than usual due to the timing of Easter in 2019 (April 21).  In any case, the data is will probably be noisy for the next few reports.

Continuing claims were up 18,000 to 1.776 million in the March 2 week and the insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.2%, where it has been since late November 2018 with the exception of the February 23 week when it nudged up one -tenth to 1.3%.

Altogether, a trend-like report with little to suggest any fundamental changes in a tight and healthy labor market.

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