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.
The number of unemployed workers continuing to collect insurance benefits fell 112,000 to 4.399 million in the week ended October 2, the lowest level since November 2008.
Prices for U.S. Treasury securities were little changed after the data's release. The U.S. dollar briefly extended losses and stock index futures trimmed their gains.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said U.S. producer prices rose 0.4 percent in September and the core index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.1 percent in the month.
The U.S. trade deficit for August jumped 8.8 percent to a larger-than-expected $46.4 billion, pushed by record imports from China that helped the U.S. deficit with Beijing set a new record of $28.0 billion, the Commerce Department said.
American voters unhappy at high unemployment are set to oust President Barack Obama's Democrats from control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2 elections, a Reuters-Ipsos poll projected on Wednesday.
The U.S. growth outlook has darkened significantly and the Federal Reserve is unanimously expected to embark on a fresh round of asset purchases to prop up the economy, a separate Reuters poll showed.
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