Layoffs remain extremely low and are pointing to another strong employment report for February. Initial claims fell 12,000 in the February 4 week to 234,000, the lowest reading since November and one of the lowest on record. The 4-week average is down 3,750 to 244,250 which is more than 10,000 below the month-ago trend and a new cycle low (since 1973).
Continuing claims are also near record lows though the latest data, for the January 28 week in this case, did rise 15,000 to 2.078 million. The 4-week average, however, is down 4,000 to a 2.076 million level that is also 10,000 below the month-ago trend.
There are no special factors in today's report, one that confirms strong demand in the labor market.
Initial jobless claims are expected to come in little changed in the February 4 week, at 250,000 vs 246,000 in the prior week. Claims data have been very low and consistent with strong demand for labor.