New unemployment claims dropped and remained near "historically-low levels" for the week ending Feb. 26, "as the labor market stays tight following a decline in COVID-19 cases," The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Initial jobless claims, which are seen as a proxy for layoffs, fell by 18,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 215,000 for the last week, "down from the revised 233,000 the week before," the Journal writes, per a Thursday Labor Department report. The 215,000 total was also the lowest since the start of the year and below the Wall Street estimate of 225,000, per CNBC.
Continuing claims, which run a week behind, crawled up to 1.47 million; the four-week moving average, however, which better factors in weekly volatility, dropped to its lowest level since April 4, 1970, CNBC reports.
The numbers are a sign that "the labor market, despite headwinds from inflationary pressures, remains tight as the economy regains more of the jobs lost due to the pandemic in 2020," the Journal writes. The data also arrives ahead of Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics nonfarm payrolls report, in which Wall Street is hoping to see a gain of 440,000 jobs in February, per CNBC.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated Wednesday that despite the economic uncertainty surrounding the current crisis in Ukraine, the central bank is still planning to soon raise interest rates to combat inflationary pressures in the U.S.