The BLS has announced a surprising drop in initial claims, which plunged from a downward revised 388K to 368K, on expectations of 395K. This was the lowest number since May of 2008. "In the week ending Feb. 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 368,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000. The 4-week moving average was 388,500, a decrease of 12,750 from the previous week's revised average of 401,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending Feb. 19, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's revised rate of 3.1 percent." The non-seasonally adjusted number came at 351K, a number which if contained means that the so called slack in the economy is evaporating, and that the inflationary picture is far worse than the Chairman expects. These numbers further conform to rumors for a blowout NFP tomorrow, spread yesterday, which says that based on Birth-Death adjustments, the NFP could be well over 300,000. In other news, continuing claims hit 3,774K on expectations of 3,815K, compared to 3,833K previously, and those added to EUC and extended claims were roughly 55K.
Summary from the BLS: