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Hurricane Harvey smashed into Texas last week, helping produce an upward spiral in first-time jobless claims.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial applications for state unemployment benefits shot up 62,000 in the week ending September 2 to a seasonally asjusted total of 298,000.

That's the highest level since April 18, 2015.

The four-week moving average, considered a more accurate hauge of the labor market, jumped by 13,500 to 250,250 from the previous week.

The full report is available on the DOL website.

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Non-manufacturing economy on the rise

August was another month of growth of economic activity in the non-manufacturing - or services – sector for a total of 92 months in a row.

The nation’s purchasing and supply executives, in the latest Non-Manufacturing Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Report On Business, say the non-manufacturing index (NMI) was up 1.4% last month registering 55.3%.

A reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below that suggests contraction.

Looking inside the NMI, the Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index came in at 57.5%, up 1.6% from July, reflecting growth for the 97th consecutive month, at a faster rate in August.

The New Orders Index rose 2% to 57.1%, the Employment Index increased 2.6% to 56.2%, and the Prices Index increased added 2.2% for a reading of 57.9%, indicating prices increased in August for the third consecutive month.

Industry performance

The 15 non-manufacturing industries reporting growth in August were:

  1. Retail Trade;
  2. Information;
  3. Management of Companies & Support Services;
  4. Real Estate, Rental & Leasing;
  5. Other Services;
  6. Wholesale Trade;
  7. Utilities;
  8. Mining;
  9. Educational Services;
  10. Accommodation & Food Services;
  11. Finance & Insurance;
  12. Public Administration;
  13. Professional, Scientific & Technical Services;
  14. Construction; and
  15. Health Care & Social Assistance. 

Two industries reported contraction:

  1. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting; and
  2. Transportation & Warehousing.

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