WASHINGTON — Initial jobless claims increased 12,000 to a nine-month high of 500,000 in the week ended Aug. 14, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Continuing claims fell to 4.478 million in the week ending Aug. 7 — the lowest level since June. Economists expected 476,000 initial claims and 4.5 million continuing claims. The four-week moving average for initial claims increased to 482,500, the highest level since December.

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