The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits in the first week of September fell by 6,000 to 275,000, showing that layoffs remain near the lowest level in decades. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected claims to fall to a seasonally adjusted 275,000 in the week ended Sept. 5. The average of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, rose by 500 to 275,750, the Labor Department said. The four-week average smooths out sharp fluctuations in the more volatile weekly report and is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor-market trends. Some 2.26 million people were already collecting weekly unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, in the seven days ended Aug. 29. That was up 1,000 from the prior week. Continuing claims are reported with a two-week lag.
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