Seasonal adjustments to the statistics, rather than a sudden change in labor market conditions, are most likely behind last week's rise in initial claims for unemployment insurance. For the week ending Feb. 25, the number of initial jobless claims was 294,000, an increase of 15,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 279,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Mar. 2.
The department's four-week moving average of initial claims also increased last week. The average was 287,250, an increase of 5,250 claims from the previous week's revised average of 282,000.