Applications for jobless benefits fell by 9,000 for the week ending March 8, bringing the total to 315,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 324,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

This is the lowest this figure has been since November.

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, decreased by 6,250 to 330,500, down from last week’s revised figure of 336,750.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending March 1, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate,” the report reads.

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 1 was 2,855,000, a decrease of 48,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 2,903,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,915,750, a decrease of 19,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 2,935,250,” it adds.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 1 were New York (+18,709), Florida (1,940), Illinois (+1,789), Texas (+1,245), and New Hampshire (+849).

Meanwhile, California (-5,765), Georgia (-5,437), Massachusetts (-3,770), Pennsylvania (-2,086), and South Carolina (-2,006) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

“About 3.45 million people received unemployment benefits as of Feb. 22, the latest figures available. That’s 13,000 more than the previous week,” the Associated Press reported.

The AP adds: “In a separate report Thursday, the Commerce Department said that sales at retail stores and restaurants rose 0.3 percent last month. The rebound suggests consumers are spending a bit more after sales fell a sharp 0.6 percent in January.”

Markets are poised to open mixed this morning:

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