2012 Economic Calendar
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Jobless Claims  
Released On 3/1/2012 8:30:00 AM For wk2/25, 2012
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Claims - Level351 K353 K355 K345 K to 360 K351 K
4-week Moving Average - Level359.00 K359.50 K354.00 K
New Claims - Change0 K2 K-2 K

There are no special factors clouding claims data that are clearly pointing to strong improvement in the labor market. Initial claims in the February 25 week came in at 351,000, down 2,000 from the revised prior week. The four-week average is extending its long convincing trend downward, falling 5,500 to 354,000. The average is trending roughly 20,000 below the month-ago comparison which should bolster expectations for strong growth in monthly payrolls and what is certain to be a positive factor for today's stock market.

Continuing claims in data for the February 18 week are down 2,000 to 3.402 million with the four-week average down 12,000 to 3.444 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers is unchanged at 2.7 percent.

Consensus Outlook
Initial jobless claims for the February 18 week was unchanged 351,000 from the slightly upward revised prior week. For the 11th time in 12 weeks, the four-week average showed improvement, down 7,000 to 359,000. The four-week average was down nearly 20,000 from the month-ago comparison which is substantial improvement. Continuing claims for the February 11 week fell 52,000 to 3.392 million with the four-week average down 46,000 to 3.453 million.

New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing (decreasing) trend suggests a deteriorating (improving) labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims smooths out weekly volatility.  Why Investors Care
Weekly series fluctuate more dramatically than monthly series even when the series are adjusted for seasonal variation. The 4-week moving average gives a better perspective on the underlying trend.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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