Applications for jobless benefits increased by 14,000 for the week ending Feb. 22, bringing the total to 348,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 334,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.
This is an official five-week high, the Labor Department said.
The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, remained unchanged from last week’s revised figure of 338,250.
“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3 percent for the week ending February 15, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the report read.
“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 15 was 2,964,000, an increase of 8,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,956,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,954,750, an increase of 4,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,950,750,” it added.
The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending February 15 were California (+5,832), Michigan (+2,129), Oregon (+1,574), Missouri (+1,045), and Nevada (+196).
Meanwhile, Georgia (-7,759), Pennsylvania (-3,677), Wisconsin (-3,227), Illinois (-2,780), and North Carolina (-2,644) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.
“Nearly 3.5 million people received unemployment aid in the week ending Feb. 8, the latest data available. That's about 25,000 fewer than the previous week,” the Associated Press reported.
MarketWatch added: “Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to total 335,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis.”
Markets are poised to open lower this morning:
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This post has been updated.