U.S. jobless claims fall to lowest level in four weeks

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The numbers: Initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 to 228,000 in the week ended Aug. 26, the Labor Department said Thursday. It’s the lowest level of claims since the week ended July 29.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would rise 5,000 to 230,000. Last week claims fell a revised 8,0000 to 232,000. That compared with the initial estimate of a decrease of 10,000 to 230,000.

Key details: The number of people already collecting jobless benefits rose by 28,000 to 1.73 million in the week ending Aug. 19. That’s the highest level since early July.

On an unadjusted basis, claims fell 6,970 to 192,467 in the week ended Aug. 26.

Big picture: “The still low level of initial claims has been providing evidence that, despite well-publicized layoffs in tech and other sectors, and reports of reduced numbers of on-line job postings, most companies have either been hiring or holding onto employees and seeking other ways to cut costs. However, with credit conditions tightening and the full effects of significantly tighter monetary policy yet to be felt, overall labor market conditions are likely to cool,” said Josh Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., in comment prior to the data.

Economists expect the U.S. labor market added 170,000 net new jobs in August and that the unemployment rate slips to 3.5%. The data will be released Friday.

Market reaction: Stocks

were set to open higher on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
fell to 4.1%.

Read the full article here

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