Jobless claims: 432,000, down 12,000

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U.S. jobless claims were down 12,000 this week to 430,000. However, the 4-week average increased to 445,750 and is now 125,750 higher than a year ago. Over the past 4 or 5 weeks, claims have spiked up in part due to the extension of unemployment benefits. Therefore, it won’t be clear how weak the data are until we move into September and October

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Continuing Claims were 3,362,000, which was down 17,000 from the week before. Nevertheless, as with initial claims, the 4-week moving average is up, registering 3,330,250, which is 66,250 more than last week and 775,500 more than at this time last year.

The data are consistent with a weak labor market. It is still unclear, however, what this will mean for the unemployment number in September as the data have been skewed by the extension of benefits.

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