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Jobless claims slide to near 15-month low

Number of initial filers for unemployment insurance falls to 457,000, lowest level since September 2008.

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By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com staff reporter

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The number of first-time filers for unemployment insurance fell last week to a nearly 15-month low, according to a government report released Wednesday.

There were 457,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Nov. 28, down 5,000 from a revised 462,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said.

That's the lowest level since the week ended Sept. 6, 2008. The week being reported included the Thanksgiving holiday.

A consensus estimate of economists surveyed by Briefing.com expected 480,000 new claims for the week.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 481,250, down 14,250 from the previous week.

Continuing claims: The government also said 5,465,000 people filed continuing claims in the week ended Nov. 21, the most recent data available. That's up 28,000 from the preceding week.

The 4-week moving average for ongoing claims fell by 75,750 to 5,541,500.

But the slide in continuing claims may signal that more filers are falling off those rolls and into extended benefits.

Continuing claims reflect people filing each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks. The figures do not include those who have moved to state or federal extensions, nor people who have exhausted their benefits.

Obama's jobs forum. The Obama administration is holding a jobs summit Thursday. The president will meet with labor representatives, financial experts, small-business owners and other business leaders to discuss how to revive the labor market.

The 130 forum participants are meeting on the eve of the government's November unemployment report.

The nation is expected to have lost another 125,000 jobs, with unemployment remaining at a 26-year high of 10.2%, according to a consensus of economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

Last month, the Labor Department reported that the nation's unemployment rate rose above 10% for the first time since 1983.

A separate report released by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Wednesday showed the pace of job losses slowing to the lowest level in two years, but the number of cuts announced in 2009 have already exceeded last year's total.

State-by-state data: Only one state reported initial claims fell by more than 1,000 for the week ended Nov. 21, the most recent data available.

Claims in Michigan decreased by 1,242, which the state attributed to fewer layoffs in the auto industry.

Nineteen states said that claims increased by more than 1,000. California reported that claims rose by 14,796; Illinois had 6,168 more claims; North Carolina's increased by 5,557; Pennsylvania saw a jump of 5,285; and Texas claims rose by 3,500. To top of page

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