Initial jobless claims in the U.S. increase to a 9-month high

The number of unemployed workers applying for first-time benefits in the U.S. reached 500,000 last week, the highest rate this year, according to the Labor Department. In a healthy economy, initial claims would average fewer than 400,000 per week, economists said. The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index increased 0.1% last month, indicating a "weak economy with little forward momentum."

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