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New Unemployment Claims Reach Highest Level in Four Years

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A photographer records a woman filing state unemployment insurance claim at Hartford Job Service in Hartford, Conn., on Sept. 19, 2015.

Nearly 900,000 people filed new unemployment claims last week, according to data released on Thursday.

The figure marks the second-highest for this time of year since 2008, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It also has an unfortunate precedent in the weeks surrounding the Nov. 7 midterm elections.

Last Friday, the BLS reported that jobless claims had fallen in September to 266,000 from 290,000 a week earlier, reaching their lowest point since 2000. But the numbers appeared to carry over into the first week of October.

If the trend continues, the new figures could call into question any growth implied by the larger unemployment numbers.

The number of people filing new claims for unemployment was 366,000 for the week that ended Oct. 6, down 10,000 from the previous week.

People have had to contend with a drop in average initial jobless claims over the past two months as they adjust to the U.S. government’s refusal to pay employers for overtime worked by federal contract workers during the summer months. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment was 344,000 for the week that ended Sept. 8, down 5,000 from the previous week.

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