Initial claims for unemployment benefits reached pre-recession levels in the previous week with a decline of 37,000 first time claims.
Last week's total of 335,000 initial claims was left unrevised. In the week that ended Saturday, the total came to 330,000 first-time claims.
The four-week rolling average for the week dropped by 8,250 to 351,750.
In the current week, the unadjusted advance number of first-time unemployment benefits claims under state programs totaled 436,766 for the week, a 119,944 drop from the previous week, the Labor Department said.
For the comparable week of 2012, there were 416,880 initial claims.