By MATT OTT
AP Business Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the largest number in four months, but the labor market remains strong in the face of persistent inflation and a slowing overall U.S. economy. Jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 1 rose by 29,000 to 219,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The Federal Reserve, determined to bring down decades-high inflation by raising its main borrowing rate, takes labor force data into consideration when making its rate decisions. But the more important data comes Friday in the form of the September jobs report.