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Reuters: U.S. Data Point to Slow Pace of Healing in Economy
The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week while U.S. manufacturing improved only slightly in August, worrisome signs for an economy struggling to create enough jobs.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The data keeps pressure on President Barack Obama ahead of his November re-election bid. Republican challenger Mitt Romney is trying to focus voters' attention on a lofty unemployment rate that has dogged Obama's presidency.
Many economists think the Federal Reserve could unveil a new bond buying program to prop up economic growth as soon as its next meeting September 12-13, although an improvement in hiring this month could make that less likely.
"Jobless claims continue to indicate ... a sluggish labor market," said Peter Cardillo, an economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. "The numbers also strengthen the hand of the Fed to aid the economy with more stimulus."
However, Cardillo and other economists said the slow pace of healing in the labor market doesn't necessarily point to immediate action by the Fed.