Initial jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 502,000 for the week ending Nov. 7, dropping for the second straight week as the four-week average for initial claims dropped to its lowest level in almost a year, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

Continuing claims dropped by 139,000 to 5.631 million for the week ending Oct. 31, the largest weekly drop since August. Continuing claims have fallen for eight consecutive weeks, and are now at their lowest level since March.

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