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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

New jobless claims filed last week fall 29,000

New jobless claims filed last week dropped 29,000, to 469,000, slightly better than forecasters expected, the government said moments ago.

Forecasters expected last week's new jobless claims to come in at 470,000.

The four-week moving average for new jobless claims, which smooths out the week-to-week volatility, dropped 3,250 to 470,450.

Continuing claims last week dropped to 4.5 million from 4.6 million the prior week.

The February national unemployment rate is scheduled to be reported tomorrow morning. The official rate stands at 9.7 percent. Forecasters are expecting it to tick up to 9.8 percent. Economists expect the unemployment rate to hang near 10 percent through the remainder of the year, making it a factor in the November mid-term elections.

Last week's drop in newly filed unemployment claims should not necessarily being taken as the beginning of a trend. This recovery will be choppy and come in lurches. Further, at 469,000, new jobless claims are still too high for new job creation to occur. The weekly number needs to get down into the lower 400,000s before the economy can begin to create new jobs and really eat into the unemployment rate.

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By Frank Ahrens  |  March 4, 2010; 8:26 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker , Unemployment  | Tags: jobless claims, unemployment  
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