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Fewer Americans than forecast filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, which may reflect difficulty adjusting the data for seasonal swings at the start of a new quarter.

Applications for jobless benefits dropped 30,000 to 339,000 in the week ended Oct. 6, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 370,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. One state accounted for most of the plunge in claims, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were issued to the press.

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