New U.S. claims for jobless benefits rose last week, hardening the view the central bank will pump more money into the economy, and keeping pressure on Democrats poised to lose congressional seats in November 2 polls.
At the same time, record-high imports from China helped push the U.S. trade deficit wider in August, while rising food and energy prices pushed inflation at the wholesale level up twice as fast as expected last month.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose to a higher-than-expected 462,000 in the latest week, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected initial claims at 445,000 in the latest week.
"These numbers don't fall out of the range of expectations, so they don't move the needle too much," said Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at Glenmede Investment and Wealth Management in Philadelphia.