Initial unemployment benefits claims for the week dropped by 30,000 to to 339,000, down from the revised figure of 369,000 for the previous week.
The four-week rolling average was 364,000, a drop of 11,500 from the previous week's revised average.
The advance number of unadjusted actual first-time jobless benefits claims under state programs totaled 327,063 for the week, an increase of 25,990 from the previous week, the Labor Department said.
There were 405,906 initial benefits claims in the comparable week in 2011, the department's Employment and Training Administration said.
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