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WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits plummeted last week 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted 292,000. But the drop was mostly because of technical issues in two states that delayed the processing of applications.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average fell to 321,250, the lowest in six years.

A government spokesman says the steep drop occurred because two states upgraded their computer systems last week and did not process all their applications.

In other news

IT TOOK MORE THAN A YEAR of struggle, but Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell on Thursday landed the buyout deal he has been seeking – a deal that will let him begin remaking the company he founded 29 years ago. A majority of Dell Inc. shareholders voted to accept the $24.9 billion deal, company officials said Thursday from Dell Inc.’s campus in Round Rock, Texas. The vote means the company is now expected to go private before Nov. 1, and it ended a long battle over the company’s future – a fight it appeared at times that Michael Dell would lose.

THE SLOWLY RECOVERING U.S. job market has helped women rebound faster than men: They’ve now regained all the jobs they lost to the Great Recession. Men are still 2.1 million jobs short. Lower-wage industries, such as retail, education, restaurants and hotels, have been hiring the fastest. Women are predominant in those areas. Men dominate sectors such as construction and manufacturing, which have yet to recover millions of jobs lost in the recession.


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