WASHINGTON — Initial jobless claims decreased by 12,000 to 545,000 for the week ending Sept. 12, falling to the lowest level since July, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

Continuing claims rose by 129,000 to 6.23 million for the week ending Sept. 5,  the largest increase in continuing claims since June.

Economists expected 555,000 initial claims and 6.11 million continuing claims, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The four-week moving average declined to 563,000, the third weekly decline in a row. The four-week average for continuing claims fell for the fourth-straight week to 6.18 million, the lowest level since April 18.

The Labor Day holiday was included in the reference period for initial claims.

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