New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits inched up by 3,000 to 267,000 in the seven days ended Sept. 19. The latest report on initial claims fits with a healthy labor market. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast initial claims to rise to 275,000. Claims had fallen by 17,000 in the prior two weeks. The average of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, edged down by 750 to a seasonally adjusted 271,750, the lowest level in a month, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average smooths out sharp fluctuations in the more volatile weekly report and is seen as a more accurate predictor of labor-market trends. Continuing jobless claims declined by 1,000 to 2.24 million in the week ended Sept. 12. These claims reflect people already receiving unemployment checks.
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