For Week Ending March 19, Weekly Jobless Claims at Lowest Since September 1969

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In an extremely encouraging sign, in the week ending March 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 187,000, a decrease of 28,000 from the previous week’s revised level, and the lowest level for initial claims since Sept. 6, 1969, when it was 182,000, according to the Labor Department.

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The previous week’s unemployment level was revised up by 1,000 to 215,000. The 4-week moving average was 211,750, a decrease of 11,500 from the previous week’s revised average.

This new figure also demonstrates how far the job market has come from a year ago, when jobless claims stood at 658,000 for the corresponding week in 2021, according to Labor Department data.

It also underlines the tight job market, where demand for labor is extremely high — something that was reiterated by Fed Chair Jerome Powell on March 21 at the 38th Annual Economic Policy Conference National Association for Business Economics, in Washington, D.C.

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“By many measures, the labor market is extremely tight, significantly tighter than the very strong job market just before the pandemic. There are far more job openings going unfilled today than before the pandemic, despite today’s unemployment rate being higher,” Powell said, according to the remarks.

It also beat analysts’ expectations — economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast initial jobless claims to total a seasonally adjusted 210,000 for the week, according to MarketWatch.

Florida and Tennessee saw the largest increases in claims for the week, according to Labor Department data. California, Michigan and Kentucky saw the largest decreases in claims.

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The largest increases in initial claims for the previous week, ending March 12, were in Michigan (+2,068), Ohio (+1,547), California (+1,274), Missouri (+850), and Illinois (+665), while the largest decreases were in New York (-16,098), Massachusetts (-1,116), New Jersey (-1,046), Washington (-992), and District of Columbia (-945), according to the Labor Department. 

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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