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The weekly jobless claims report showed better-than-expected numbers in both, initial and continuing claims. Analyst at Wells Fargo, explained that the number of people on regular continuing claims fell to 4.14 million in the last week of February, but the take-up for total federal unemployment benefit programs grew in the week of February 20.

Key Quotes:  

“Initial jobless claims fell to 712K in the first week of March. This is spitting distance from the post-pandemic low of 711K set in November, but still higher than any reading before COVID, just as it has been in each of the past 51 weeks. The outturn was better than the 725K figure expected by the consensus, however. In a nutshell, this is the least awful it has been over the past year. The pre-pandemic peak for claims was 665K, so a drop of 48K or more would place this leading indicator back into a “normal” range, but still at an elevated level.”

“Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) offers an extension of unemployment benefits after the initial 13-week claims period is exhausted. Through the week of February 20, there were 5.5 million people filing continuing claims for these benefits.”

“The number of people getting unemployment checks from the federal government continues to grow even as regular state continuing claims figures fall.”