WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week in line with the recent moderate pace of jobs growth.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Claims for the previous week were revised to show 1,000 more applications than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to fall to 345,000 last week.
The four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 2,750 to 345,750.
A Labor Department analyst said no states had been estimated and there were no special factors in the state data.
The Federal Reserve, which has been closely monitoring the labor market, said after its policy-setting meeting last week downside risks to the outlook for the jobs market had diminished since the fall.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank could trim the $85 billion in bonds it has been buying each month to keep interest rates low and bolster the economy sometime later this year and likely bring the program to a close by mid-2014.
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 1,000 to 2.965 million in the week ended June 15.
Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now