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New U.S. jobless claims fell by 31,000 last week, but is still too high to signal a shift in the weak labor market.
The decrease of initial unemployment claims will be of little comfort to President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats ahead of a tough mid-term election in November. But the four-week average of new claims, a better measure of underlying labor market trends, rose to a nine-month high.
Economists say it implies more job losses in August. Continuing claims, a reflection of the jobless rate, fell 62,000 in the week ended August 14th. The number of people on emergency benefits is still rising.