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APPLICATIONS FALL: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 393,000 last week. It was the second straight drop after Superstorm Sandy drove applications much higher earlier this month.
STORM IMPACT FADES: The storm had little effect on last week's data, a government spokesman said. Applications had spiked to 451,000 three weeks ago after Sandy struck the East Coast Oct. 29.
TEMPORARY DRAG: The spike in layoffs caused by the storm may largely offset hiring increases in November. Job gains could amount to as few as 25,000, down from a gain of 171,000 in October.