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Washington, D.C. -- A report released Thursday by the Labor Department said that jobless claims for last week dropped by 24,000 to 398,000, the fewest since April.
Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 422,000 from an original reading of 418,000. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected new requests for jobless benefits to fall to 413,000 in the latest week.
The average of new claims over the past four weeks declined by 8,500 to 413,750, also the lowest level since April. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it irons out volatility in the week-to-week data.