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US jobless claims fall to 339K, fewest in 4 years

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 11:28 am

WASHINGTON – The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid plummeted last week to seasonally adjusted 339,000, the lowest level in more than four years. The sharp drop, if sustained, could signal a stronger job market.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications fell by 30,000 to the fewest since February 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped by 11,500 to 364,000, a six-month low.

The positive figures follow a report last week that said the unemployment rate fell in September to 7.8 percent. It was the first time since January 2009 that the rate dropped below 8 percent.