The number of U.S. workers claiming an initial week of jobless claims unexpectedly fell by 8,000 last week to the lowest level in nearly four months, a government report showed Thursday.

First-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 295,000 for the week ended June 10 from an upwardly revised 303,000 claims in the previous week, the Labor Department said.

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Wall Street economists had forecast initial claims would rise to 320,000 from an initially reported 302,000 for the prior week, which contained the Memorial Day holiday.

The initial claims figure was the lowest since the week of Feb. 18, when it reached 289,000. A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors to account for this week's decline.

The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths weekly fluctuations to provide a better picture of labor market trends, fell to 315,750 from 328,000 the previous week.

The number of people who continued to file for benefits after receiving an initial week of aid rose by 15,000 to 2.425 million in the week ended June 3, the latest for which that data is available.

Wall Street economists had expected continued claims to decline to 2.41 million from an initially reported 2.415 million the previous week. The Labor Department revised the previous week's continued claims down to 2.41 million.

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