The Labor Department report on first time unemployment claims came in slightly below expectations: 323,000 against an expected 336,000 and the best figure in three months.

This is the second of three important numbers released this week. Yesterday’s disappointing ADP report was the first. (Go figure.) The third, and most significant of the reports will be issued tomorrow. That would be the February jobs report about which one thing is certain. If it shows an increase in unemployment, that will be widely blamed on the weather. Watch, also, for generous use of the word “unexpectedly."

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