Applications for jobless benefits increased by 5,000 for the week ending March 15, bringing the total to 320,000, up from last week’s revised figure of 315,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.
This latest figured breaks at least two straight weeks of declines in benefit applications.
The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, fell by 3,500 to 327,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 330,500.
“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending March 8, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the report reads.
“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 8 was 2,889,000, an increase of 41,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,848,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,897,250, a decrease of 16,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,914,000,” it adds.
The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 8 were Pennsylvania (+1,961), Washington (+982), Wisconsin (+830), Arkansas (+745), and Illinois (+590).
Meanwhile, New York (-17,548), Michigan (-1,971), California (-1,262), Connecticut (-1,079), and New Hampshire (-783) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.
"About 3.35 million people received unemployment benefits as of March 1, the latest figures available. That's about 101,000 fewer than the previous week,” the Associated Press reported.
The AP adds: “Employers added 175,000 jobs last month, up from just 129,000 in January and only 84,000 in December.”
Markets are most likely ignoring Thursday’s report, focusing more on the developing situation in Crimea, Ukraine and Russia:
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter