This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Initial Jobless Claims Decline

WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- The number of first timers applying for state unemployment insurance inched lower last week, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday, a day before the release of a highly anticipated jobs report.

The number of initial jobless claims fell by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 469,000 for the week ending Feb. 27. The final figure landed in line with analysts' estimates, who anticipated a fall to 470,000 from a pre-revised 495,000.

The four-week moving average, which tends to smooth out distortions during the month, also showed improvement, declining by 3,250 to 470,450.

The number of those continuing to receive benefits fell to 4.5 million for the week ending Feb. 20, from 4.634 million the week before.

The Labor Department on Friday is set to release a more complete snapshot of February's jobs market. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have lost another 65,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate probably edged a tenth of a percentage point higher to 9.8%. But many expect some distortions to show up in the figures because of the relentless snowfall that hit much of the country last month.

Thursday's initial claims report suggested as much. In its state-by-state breakdown for the week of Feb. 20 -- a week that reflected a sharp upward climb in initial jobless claims -- many states in the northeast reported the biggest jumps. New Jersey saw the most marked increase, as the rough weather caused office closures and a backlog in claims.

Still, market observers already received some improving hints of what's ahead for Friday. One assessment from Automatic Data Processing (ADP) showed private sector employers shed their fewest jobs in two years , while another from Challenger, Gray & Christmas said announced layoffs fell 41% last month.

Big names like Merck (MRK) and Oracle (ORCL) continued making layoff news last month. But just this week, Kohl's (KSS) said it would open several new stores, which will add more than 1500 positions.

Firms also experienced a surge in productivity after months of cost cutting left a sea of workers adrift in the unemployed ranks. The Labor Department raised its fourth-quarter productivity estimate Thursday, saying output soared 6.9%. In essence, firms have figured out how to do more with less, making future job creation that much more elusive.

The claims data helped stocks open just to the upside, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 25 points, or 0.2%, to 10,422 and the S&P 500 gained 3 points, or 0.2%, to 1122.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,156.85 +24.88 0.15%
S&P 500 2,001.57 +2.59 0.13%
NASDAQ 4,562.1890 +9.43 0.21%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs