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Jobless claims up slightly

Initial jobless claims rose by 4,000 for the week ending August 30, bringing the total for the week to only slightly higher than the projected 300,000.

The much more important number from the Department of Labor is the four-week moving average of unemployment claims. They rose 3,000 to 302,750. Week-to-week data is notoriously noisy, so taking a longer view gives economists a better predictor of the direction of the economy.

Last week’s total of 302,000 initial claims hews close to the 300,000 range the Department of Labor has recorded since mid-July, when weekly claims fell to a 2014 low of 279,000. The economy hasn’t seen a streak like this since early 2006, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Revised weekly numbers reveal that the week ending Aug. 23 had the lowest level for insured unemployment since June 16, 2007.

Thursday’s numbers come one day before the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment data, although these jobless claims are outside the survey period for the data to be released Friday. Economists are expecting the economy to have added about 225,000 jobs in August.