The number of U.S. workers lining up for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell by 10,000 last week, the government said on Thursday in a report underscoring a relatively stable job market.

The Labor Department said a seasonally adjusted 299,000 workers filed new claims for state unemployment insurance benefits in the week ended Oct. 14, down from 309,000 claims a week earlier.

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Economists polled by Reuters were expecting a slight increase in jobless claims to 312,000 from an original reading of 308,000 in the week ended Oct. 7.

The four-week moving average of new claims — viewed as a more accurate indicator of longer-term labor conditions - fell to its lowest in nearly four months.

It was the third week in a row the average declined, slipping to 307,750 in the week ended Oct. 14 from 313,500 the previous week.

The number of people who remained on the benefit rolls after drawing an initial week of aid rose 25,000 to 2.45 million in the week ended Oct. 7, the latest week these data were available.

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