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Jobless claims down slightly last week

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Initial jobless claims remained essentially flat last week, staying higher than 400,000. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Oct. 8 fell by 1,000 to 404,000 from 405,000 the previous week, which was revised upward 4,000. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 405,000 new jobless claims last week with a range of estimates between 395,000 and 425,000. Most economists believe weekly jobless claims lower than 400,000 indicate the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening. The four-week moving average, which is considered a less volatile indicator than weekly claims, decreased by 7,000 claims to 408,000 from the prior week's revised 415,000. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ended Oct. 1 slid to 2.9% from 3%, according to the Labor Department. The total number of people receiving some sort of federal unemployment benefits for the week ended Sept. 24 fell to 6.82 million from 6.86 million the prior week. Write to Jason Philyaw. Follow him on Twitter: @jrphilyaw.

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