Weekly jobless claims jump

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The number of U.S. workers making new claims for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in nine months, a distressing sign for an already-weak labor market.

Initial unemployment claims rose by 12,000 from a week earlier, to 500,000 in the week ended Aug. 14, the Labor Department said Thursday.

It was the highest level since Nov. 14, when claims stood at 509,000.

The increase indicates that the labor market remains in the doldrums and adds to evidence that the economic recovery is slowing. The bleak economic news flustered investors Thursday, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 144 points to 10271.21. (See article on page C1.)

The four-week moving average, which aims to smooth volatility in the data, rose by 8,000 to 482,500. It was the highest level since December 2009. The number of continuing claims— those drawn by workers for more than one week—fell by 13,000 to 4.5 million in the week ended Aug. 7.

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