Rising first-time jobless claims are often considered a sign of more layoffs in the economy. The number has risen for the last two weeks, but overall, a four-week moving average shows claims in August are down slightly from in mid-July.
"This implies another month of decent, but relatively uninspiring payrolls gains and a steady unemployment rate," said Thomas Simons, a Jefferies & Co. money market economist, in a note to clients.
Two jobs, hard times
This report is seen as a key predictor of monthly job creation in August, since it coincides with the Labor Department's survey of 60,000 households, which was also conducted last week. That survey will determine the results of the highly-anticipated employment report for August, which will be released in early September.