WASHINGTON — There were 445,000 first-time filings forunemployment insurance last week, compared with the revised figureof 451,000 the week before, the Labor Department reportedtoday.

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While the week-to-week numbers fell, the year-to-year data tolda different story. During the same week last year, there were322,000 first-time filings.

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The four-week average of first-time claims was 440,000, anincrease of 250 compared with last week's numbers.

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The nation's economic woes have been a major issue in thepresidential campaign and several of the states that saw thehighest increases in new claims are considered battlegrounds: Ohio,North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

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Today's data report follows bleak news from the government'slatest unemployment figures.

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Last Friday, the department reported that unemployment rose to6.1% in August, the highest in four years, as businesses cut 84,000jobs. Those numbers represented the 8th consecutive month of joblosses.

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