Jobless claims remain at low levels but are edging slightly higher. Initial claims rose 11,000 in the Sept. 6 week to 315,000, pulling up the 4-week average slightly to a 304,000 level that is 8,000 above the month-ago comparison.

Data for continuing claims, which lag by a week, show a 9,000 rise in the August 30 week to 2.487 million.

But here, the 4-week average is trending slightly lower, down 15,000 in the week to a 2.499 million level that is a new recovery low and 20,000 below the month-ago comparison. The unemployment rate for insured workers continues to hold at 1.9%.

There are no special factors in today's report, one that won't have much effect on the outlook for the jobs market. Next week, however, may be a different story, as the sample week for initial claims will cover the sample week for the September employment report.

New unemployment claims are compiled weekly to show the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. An increasing or decreasing trend suggests a deteriorating  or improving labor market. The four-week moving average of new claims evens out weekly volatility.