Initial jobless claims totaled 744k, 64k more than expected and up from 719k last week. The 4 week average is now 724k from 721k last week. Positively, those receiving pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) did fall to 152k from 237k but those continuing to get it remains high. Delayed by a week, continuing claims fell by 60k w/o/w to 3.73mm but that was almost 100k more than anticipated. Delayed by two weeks, those continuing to receive PUA rose 203k to 7.55mm, no lower than those seen in January. Those still receiving emergency unemployment compensation was up by 117k to 5.63mm and not far from the highs. There are almost 17mm people still receiving benefits of some sort. At the end of January it was at 16.4mm.
Bottom line, with as of 7.4mm job openings thru February, and assume they are more since then, this level of claims is somewhat confounding but still points to the speculation as to what impact generous unemployment benefits are doing to people’s incentive to get a job.