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New jobless claims downThe number of Americans...

New jobless claims down

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a two-year low in late October and remained under 400,000 for the sixth straight week, the government reported yesterday. The Labor Department reported that first-time applications for unemployment insurance fell by 5,000, to 355,000, in the week that ended Oct. 31, the lowest since claims totaled 354,000 in the week of Aug. 4, 1990. Many analysts had expected claims to rise.

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Initial claims, which peaked at 530,000 on March 23, 1991, at the depths of the recession, have numbered fewer than 400,000 since Sept. 26. Not included in the report, however, were 20,869 new claims filed under a special emergency unemployment program.

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