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Jobless Claims Saw Little Change Last Week; Four-Week Average Is Up

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment remained flat, last week, the Employment and Training Administration reports. In the week that ended Aug. 25, a seasonally adjusted 374,000 claims were filed, matching the previous week's total, which was revised up.

The four-week moving average increased by 1,500 to 370,250, which Bloomberg reports is "a sign that progress in the labor market is faltering amid a plodding economic recovery."

What Mark has said the past few weeks still applies:

"Claims have stayed in a range between 350,000 and 400,000 all year. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, has also varied little: it's low this year has been 8.1 percent and the high has been 8.3 percent."

In other economic news: The AP reports that consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in July — the fastest pace in five months.

The AP reports:

"The increase in income and consumer spending could help boost subpar growth.

"The report on consumer spending is closely watched because it accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

"The economy grew at a tepid annual rate of 1.7 percent in the April-June quarter. Many economists expect growth will hover around 2 percent in the second half of the year, a pace too weak to lower the unemployment rate."

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On Television, More Transgender Characters Come Into Focus

Now that it's more common to see gay characters on TV, is the medium turning to transgender people for fresh stories? NPR's Neda Ulaby looks at TV's crop of transgender and "gender fluid" characters.
NPR

Obama Gets A Taste Of Jiro's 'Dream' Sushi In Name Of Diplomacy

On the first leg of his Asian tour, the president stopped by the iconic sushi restaurant. David Gelb, who directed a documentary about the restaurant, says eating there is amazing and nerve-wracking.
NPR

Pennsylvania Congresswoman Goes All In For Obamacare

Does Rep. Allyson Schwartz's pro-Affordable Care Act television ad signal a new thinking among Democrats running in statewide races?
NPR

Reports: FCC Poised For About-Face On Net Neutrality

According to reports, the FCC is set to approve a system in which Internet service providers offer a faster pipe to American homes to content companies willing to pay for it.

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