Government data is expected to show that the number of newly laid-off people filing jobless benefit claims dipped slightly last week but remains at elevated levels due to the sluggish economy.
The Labor Department's tally of new claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending Sept. 5 is projected to fall by 4,000 from the prior week to a seasonally-adjusted level of 440,000, according to a survey of Wall Street economists by Thomson/IFR.
The data is scheduled to be released Thursday at 8:30 am New York time.
The number of people continuing to draw jobless benefits is expected to rise slightly to 3.46 million from 3.44 million.
Last week's figure of 444,000 was higher than analysts expected. It was followed the next day by the Labor Department's report that the unemployment rate jumped unexpectedly to 6.1 percent in August, the highest level in five years.