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US weekly jobless claims head higher after big fall

WASHINGTON--New claims for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits were a high 388,000 in the most recent week, the Labor Department said Thursday, reversing an unexpected sharp fall in the previous week.

The new figure, covering the week to Oct. 13, erased hopes from the previous week's plunge that the U.S. job market was improving and unemployment was on the way down.

The new number for jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs in the economy, were 46,000 higher than the revised figure for the previous week, and back into the same range in which the data has held since the beginning of the year.

While not nearly as high as the pace of layoffs in 2010 and 2011, the unbudging number — the four-week claims average was 365,500 — underscored the difficulty the Obama administration faces in bringing down unemployment as the president fights for re-election.

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