Following last week's disappointing August nonfarm payrolls figure, investors are anxiously watching each bit of economic data released for a sign that the economy is truly grinding to a halt. This morning, the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims jumped by 4,000 to 319,000 last week. However, claims fell by a revised 22,000 in the week ending September 1, to 315,000. It was the most they'd fallen since February 17. The four-week average of new claims fell by 1,000 to 324,000, tagging its lowest level since August 18. Continuing jobless claims slipped by 6,000 during the week ended September 1 to 2.58 million the lowest level since the week ended August 18. However, the four-week average of continuing claims rose by 9,000 to 2.58 million, the highest level since January 14, 2006.
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