Take What You Will From Last Week's Meh Jobs Numbers

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Unemployment claims are up a little.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., rose by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000 in the week ended July 20, the Labor Department said Thursday. Also, the prior week's figure was revised to 336,000 new claims from an initially reported 334,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected 340,000 new claims would be filed in the latest week.

But they're getting easier to predict!

A broader measure of claims that seeks to smooth out instability suggests the labor market is at least stabilizing. The four-week moving average of claims dropped by 1,250 to 345,250 last week. That suggests an overall steadiness in claims, which could point to continued moderate growth in the labor market. The economy has added slightly more than 200,000 jobs each month over the last nine months, although unemployment remains elevated at 7.6%.

U.S. Jobless Claims Underscore Uneven Recovery [WSJ]