First-Time Uemployment Claims Climb Slightly

    It was a good-news, slightly less-than-good news week for U.S. workers filing first-time claims for unemployment assistance last week.

    According to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor Thursdsay, the number of Americans filing for such benefits rose slightly, by some 11,000, to 227,000 for the week ending March 5. That still left the levels around the lower, pre-pandemic levels seen before the pandemic recession that started in 2020.

    The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, barely rose, climbing by just 500 to 230,750.

    According to the Labor Department statistics, slightly more than 1.4 million Americans were claiming jobless aid the week that ended Feb. 26, up slightly from the week before. The four-week moving average for that number is at its lowest level in more than 50 years, according to the Labor Department.

    The weekly report comes less than a week after a much-better-than-expected jobs report for February. According to the Labor Department, the U.S. economy added 678,000 jobs in February. That’s the largest total for a month since July 2021. According to the Labor Department, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% in February, down from 4% in January.