The number of Americans filing for first time unemployment in the first week of April reverted to trend reversing the large surge the week before and limiting some of the concerns that the labor economy may have turned for the worse in March.
Initial claims for jobless benefits sank 42,000 to 346,000 retreating from the 31,000 gain the prior week, according to the Labor Department in Washington Thursday in their weekly report. Economists had expected 365,000. The previous week's total was revised 3,000 higher to 388,000.
The four week moving average, a less volatile measure, rose to 358,000 from 355,000 and is at the lower end of the 403,000 to 341,000 range for the past year.
Though a Labor Department spokesman said that there was nothing unusual in the state data for the previous week, it is likely that seasonal factors, including, the timing of Easter and college breaks contributed to the fluctuations.
The current level of jobless claims has historically been associated with about 150,000 new jobs a month. However, job creation plunged in March to just 88,000, far less than the 268,000 in February and well below the 190,000 expectations. About 130,000 new hires are needed in the economy each month to keep pace with population growth.
Chief Market Strategist