Initial jobless claims fell 2.4% last week to 445,000, which is the lowest level in a few months and lower than most analysts' estimates. The Labor Department said the seasonally adjusted figure of actual initial claims for the week ended Oct. 2 decreased by 11,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 456,000. Analysts surveyed by Econoday were projecting claims to fall to 450,000 with a ranges of estimates between 445,000 to 460,000. A survey expected last week's figure to come in at 450,000. And economists polled by MarketWatch put the number at 455,000. The four-week moving average fell for a fifth-consecutive week to 455,750 claims, down from the prior week's revised average of 458,750, according to the Labor Department data. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was once again 3.5%, down slightly from a revised 3.6%. As the Labor Department prepares to issue non-farm payroll figures for September on Friday, two reports issued earlier this week showed overall employment figures continued to fall last month. TrimTabs Investment Research said the U.S. workforce shrunk for the fourth-straight month in September, losing another 65,000 jobs. And Automatic Data Processing reported the private sector shed 39,000 jobs last month. Write to Jason Philyaw.