Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Jobless claims rise, again


Jobless1Check out the latest batch of grim data about the U.S. jobs market.

As if the consumer sector wasn’t nervous enough about a sputtering U.S. economy, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly rose in the latest week to its highest level in close to six months.

Labor Department data showed the number of new claims for jobless benefits up 2,000 at 484,000 in the week ended August 7, the second straight increase. Economists polled by Reuters had expected claims to fall to 465,000 from the previously reported 479,000.

The news brings more pain to already angst-ridden retailers, who are hoping to pass on rising input costs to consumers with higher prices as companies try to guard margins in a tepid sales environment.

In July, retailers posted weaker-than-expected sales despite cutting prices to lure back shoppers, suggesting a rough back-to-school season.