Economic Update: Initial Jobless Claims Fell 15,000 to 358,000

Initial jobless claims fell 15,000 to 358,000 in the week ended February 4, which was better than the 370,000 claims expected by consensus. The 4-week moving average is now under 370,000 and moving further into recovery territory. Mild weather once again explains some of the good news, with some states reporting of fewer layoffs in construction and transportation. Continuing jobless claims jumped 64,000 to 3.515 million in the week ended January 28, partially offsetting the 116,000 drop seen the previous week. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 2.8% for that week. The better than expected report will likely add to market hopes that the U.S. jobs market is building momentum in 2012, to help support to equity prices and bond yields today.


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