Weekly US Jobless Claims
The 11k U.S. initial claims rise to 276k in the final week of March that included Good Friday, from 265k in the prior week and 259k in the BLS survey week, left a 23k three-week climb from a 253k cycle-low at the start of the month. The climb through the month reversed the surprising February claims undershoot that was evident with last week’s release of the annual revisions. Despite the rise, claims were tight during the mid-month period relevant for Friday’s jobs report, and the rise may reflect the difficulties of seasonal adjustment with this year’s early Easter.
Claims are averaging a still-tight 264k in March, versus a lower 261k in February but higher prior averages of 282kin January and 277k in December. The 259k March BLS survey week reading sat close to the 260k February figure but below prior BLS readings of 291k in January and 275k in both November and December.
We expect a 190k March nonfarm payroll gain that falls short of the 242k February pop as well as the 228k monthly average from 2015. Yet, a sharp March rebound in producer sentiment and tight claims in early-March implies risk that the jobs report captures the March updraft.
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Chief Market Analyst
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