Initial jobless claims, first-time claims for state unemployment benefits, jumped sharply for the week ending February 23. Claims increased 19,000, to 373,000, well above the 350,000 threshold economists believe indicates a weakening labor market. Economists were expecting a number closer to 350,000.
The 4-week moving average, a less volatile and more accurate measurement, fell by 1,250, to 360,500.
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