Holding steady except for that short Verizon strike:
Jobless claims climbed by 5,000 to 417,000 in the week ended Aug. 20, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a drop in claims to 405,000, according to the median forecast. At least 8,500 applications were filed by workers at Verizon last week, compared with 12,500 the prior week, the agency said.
The report signals that excluding the communications dispute, companies are slowing the pace of firings, which may ease concern that consumers will cut back on spending. At the same time, an unemployment rate at 9.1 percent is a reminder that a sustained labor-market rebound has yet to develop two years into the economic recovery.
The Republican campaign to destroy the economy for political gain continues.