Weekly unemployment claims drop but all eyes on Friday's monthly report

Economists are forecasting that Friday's jobs report could see an increase in the level of unemployment and could show that the economy lost 100,000 jobs in August, the third month of declines. 

Meanwhile, the number of people receiving unemployment insurance dropped by 23,000 to 4.46 million in the week ended Aug. 21, down from the previous week's figure of 4.47 million. 

Those receiving extended benefits — up to 99 weeks in some states — dropped by about 320,000 to 5.44 million in the week ended Aug 14. 

Economists argue jobless claims need to drop into the low 400,000s or high 300,000s to reflect stronger job growth in the private sector.