The labor market remains solid and unemployment claims very low. Initial claims in the February 27 week did edge 6,000 higher to 278,000 but the 4-week average is down 1,750 to a 270,250 level that, significantly, is nearly 15,000 below the month-ago trend. This comparison offers a positive signal for February’s employment conditions.

Continuing claims, where data lag by a week, remain near historic lows. In data for the February 20 week, continuing claims rose 3,000 to 2.257 million with the 4-week average unchanged and also at 2.257 million where a comparison with the month-ago trend shows little change. The unemployment rate for insured workers remains unchanged at 1.7 percent.

There are no special factors in today’s report.