March 15, 2018 2:45 PM, EDT

Jobless Claims Decline for Third Time in Four Weeks

Justin Sullivan/Bloomberg News

U.S. filings for unemployment benefits fell for the third time in four weeks and remain near the lowest level in 48 years, underscoring tightness in the job market, Labor Department figures showed March 14.

Highlights of Jobless Claims For The Week Ended March 10

• Jobless claims decreased by 4,000 to 226,000 (estimated 228,000).

• Continuing claims rose by 4,000 to 1.879 million in week ended March 3 (data reported with one-week lag).

• Four-week average of initial claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 221,500 from the prior week’s 222,250; year-earlier figure was 243,000.

Key Takeaways

The U.S. labor market is still in solid shape, with weekly applications for jobless benefits over the past three years below the 300,000 level that’s consistent with health.

The figures reflect how companies are holding on to employees and highlight a big problem they face: finding people with necessary skills to fill open positions.

The data follow the February jobs report last week showing employers added the most workers since mid-2016, while the labor-force participation rate had the biggest jump in almost eight years.

Other Details

• Prior week’s reading was revised to 230,000 from 231,000.

• Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits unchanged at 1.3 percent in week ended March 3.

• Colorado, Maine had estimated claims last week, according to the Labor Department

With assistance by Chris Middleton