0816 construction
Construction workers build scaffolding on the west side of the main residence of the White House in Washington, D.C., August 1, 2012. - 

Jeremy Hobson: Today starts with some more tepid economic news. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits ticked up slightly to 366,000 last week.

Home construction slowed last month, but building permits rose to their highest level in four years.

And Walmart reported said same-store sales rose 2 percent last quarter, but said its seeing signs that the consumer is still strapped.

Diane Swonk is chief economist with Mesirow Financial, and she joins us now, as she does every Thursday.