Initial claims fell to 363,000, the department said. The four-week rolling average fell by 1,500 to 367,250.
The advance number of unadjusted actual first-time jobless benefits claims under state programs totaled 339,750 for the week, a decrease of 5,476 from the previous week, the Labor Department said.
There were 369,647 initial benefits claims in the comparable week in 2011, the department's Employment and Training Administration said.
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