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These are the jobless claims numbers that the Labor Department reported on March 4, 2021.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits came in below expectations. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims totaled 745,000 for the week ending February 27. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected jobless claims to total 750,000. This figure is a slight increase from last week's value of 736,000.

Continuing claims, the number of individuals receiving unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks, fell by 124,000 to 4.3 million. Markets sold off heavily following the news amid inflation concerns and rising bond yields.

Around 18 million Americans are still receiving benefits across all programs, falling by around 1 million in the past week.

“We expected a substantially bigger rebound after the huge winter storm pushed claims down, so this reading suggests that the underlying trend in layoffs is falling, thanks to the reopening now underway across many states,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“As always, though, two good weeks in this volatile series don’t prove anything, but whatever happens next week, we expect the trend to fall sharply over the next few months, provided the new Covid variants don’t trigger a spring wave in cases and, more importantly, hospitalizations. The jury is still out,” he added.

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