Jobless Claims Bounce Back Up ...To A Two Month High -- Fuels Speculation

After initial claims for unemployment surprisingly plunged to a 4 1/2 year low, they jumped back up again last week to a two-month high, highlighting the volatility of the data and continued sluggish job growth.

There were 388,000 first-time jobless claims for the week ending Saturday, an increase of 46,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 342,000, the Labor Department said yesterday.

That earlier number was down significantly from the week before, and, coming after an unexpected drop in the August unemployment rate, fueled speculation among some conservatives that the Obama administration was manipulating the data to improve his re-election prospects. (Fat chance.)