The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to steadily improving labor market conditions, despite two straight months of weak hiring.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 335,000 in the week ended Feb. 15.
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 1,750 to 338,500.
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