U.S. Economy Sputters

Manufacturing is down, but so are jobless claims


Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region shrank in August for the fourth straight month, a worrisome sign for the economic recovery although the pace of contraction eased.

Other data on Thursday showed a downward trend in the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits. Groundbreaking on new U.S. homes inched down in July while new building permits rose sharply.