U.S. jobless claims jumped to 386,000 last week–more than 20,000 above expectations–casting the job market in an even worse light. Experts say the low numbers of preceding weeks were likely because of delays in summer layoffs among U.S. manufacturers.

The news comes amidst revelations that President Barack Obama has not met with his Jobs Council in six months. White House spokesman has drawn jeers for his attempt to explain Obama’s absence: “The president’s obviously got a lot on his plate.” Everything except jobs and the economy, it would seem.

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