The number of workers seeking first-time jobless aid fell by 1,000 last week, a government report showed on Thursday, signaling a steady, solid job market.

The Labor Department said the number of initial claims for state jobless benefits declined to 313,000 last week from an upwardly revised 314,000 in the prior week. The total was slightly below the 315,000 claims that analysts had forecast in a Reuters poll.

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The Labor Department had initially reported the prior week's total as 312,000 and a department analyst said there were no special factors explaining the latest week's dip. New claims have oscillated within a tight range of 297,000 to 322,000 since the beginning of June.

The four-week moving average, considered a more reliable barometer of employment conditions because it irons out weekly fluctuations, rose to 315,250 in the August 19 week from a revised 311,750.

The number of workers remaining on state unemployment benefits for the week ended August 12, the latest week for which such figures were available, fell by 9,000 to 2.492 million, just below analysts' forecasts of 2.495 million.

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