Weekly Jobless Claims Fall as Expected

The number of unemployed workers seeking initial jobless compensation fell 10,000 last week, a government report said on Thursday, while a less volatile gauge of labor trends rose to its highest level in four months.

First-time claims for state unemployment insurance (search), an early reading on the resilience of the job market, fell for the second straight week, to 330,000 last week from a revised 340,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department (search) said.

The new claims level matched Wall Street economists' forecast for a drop from the 334,000 originally reported in the week ended April 2.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors behind the drop.

The closely watched four-week moving average, viewed by economists as a better gauge of labor trends because it irons out weekly volatility, rose for the sixth consecutive week, climbing to 338,000 from 337,750 to its highest level since Dec. 4.

Continued claims, the number of people who remained on the benefit rolls after drawing a week of benefits, fell 22,000 to 2.66 million in the week ended April 2, the latest week for which data are available.