Weekly Jobless Claims Rise to 719,000 Ahead of March Nonfarm Payrolls

New jobless claims jumped higher last week, underscoring the uneven labor market rebound in the final months of the waning coronavirus pandemic.
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Weekly applications for unemployment benefits jump higher last week, Commerce Department data indicated Thursday, a surprising result that underscores the uneven recovery in the nation's job market.

Applications rose 61,000 for the week ending on March 27 to 719,000, up from the prior period's downwardly-revised total of 658,000 -- the lowest since the pandemic began last year -- but well shy of the consensus forecasts. The four-week average slipped to 729,500, however, while continuing claims also declined to 3.974 million.

ADP's National Employment Report, which it compiles with Moody's Analytics, showed Wednesday that private sector jobs grew by 517,000 last month, just shy of Street forecasts of a 525,000 total but the strongest monthly figure since September. The final reading for February was revised by an extra 59,000 positions to 176,000. The insured unemployment rate was unchanged at 2.7% as of March 20.

U.S. equity futures were little-changed following the data release, with contracts tied to the Dow suggest a modest 75 point gain, while those linked to the S&P 500, which rose 5.8% for the quarter, are priced for a 19 point bump.

Nasdaq Composite futures look set to lead gains on the first trading day of the second quarter, however, with contracts indicating a 160 point opening bell advance

Benchmark 10-year note yields edged to 1.72% in early New York trading, following their biggest quarterly increase in five years, allowing tech and other interest-rate sensitive stocks to build modest pre-market gains heading into what is likely to be a quiet trading session ahead of the Good Friday Easter observance.