Jobless claims are at their lowest level in nearly 15 years, an encouraging sign one day ahead of the government's monthly jobs report. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Good news for the American worker. Claims for new jobless benefits are at their lowest level in nearly 15 years, falling by 20,000 last week to 268,000. Jim Glassman, senior economist at JPMorgan Chase. SOUNDBITE: JIM GLASSMAN, SENIOR ECONOMIST, JPMORGAN CHASE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If you rank what are the most useful indicators for the economy and the least useful, on my list jobless claims are the most credible, the most useful because they are very timely, they capture everything that is going on in the economy whereas GDP estimates are based on pieces of puzzles that come in slowly and things get revised." The news bodes well one day ahead of the government's monthly jobs report. And is encouraging after a weaker-than-expected private payrolls report earlier in the week. Analysts expect 245,000 jobs to have been added in the month, down from 295,000 in February, but still above the key 200,000 threshold. The unemployment rate expected to hold steady at 5.5 percent. Wage growth, however, remains a key concern, as well as the participation rate. Many Americans are stuck in part-time jobs and want more hours. Equity markets won't be able to react to the report right away. While the bond market will be open for an abbreviated session, the U.S. stock market will be closed for the Good Friday holiday. And that could, in turn, impact how stocks behave when they open on Monday. Decision Economic's Cary Leahey: SOUNDBITE: CARY LEAHEY, SENIOR ADVISORY, DECISION ECONOMICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They have an entire weekend to think about it, and the more they see that a number, let's say, it surprises to the downside, the more they have a chance to say 'Yeah, it doesn't really mean much,' the more likely you are to have a less negative or, as economists say, perhaps even a stronger opening if that would then be tied to the fact that if you thought the Fed could go in June, now they can't go." The release of the jobs report has only coincided with Good Friday four times since 1999, most recently in 2012, according to data from Bespoke.