New jobless claims slipped in the latest week, the government said on Thursday in a report suggesting the economy lacks the vigor needed to generate new jobs, keeping record numbers of unemployed Americans on benefit rolls. 

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits, which gives an early reading on the resilience of the labor market, fell a modest 3,000 to 402,000 in the Sept. 1 week, down from a revised 405,000, the Labor Department said. Wall Street economists had expected claims at 398,000. 

The number of people filing so-called continued claims -- those who have already filed for a week or more of benefits -- rose to 3.207 million in the Aug. 25 week, the latest week for which figures are available, from 3.170 million a week earlier to reach the highest level since 3.211 million in the Sept. 26, 1992, week.