The number of initial jobless claims filed by unemployed Americans fell about 3% this past week after experiencing an unexpected rise a week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday. For the week ended April 16, Americans filed 403,000 initial jobless claims, which is down by 13,000 claims when compared to last week's revised figure of 416,000. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected 390,000 new jobless claims with a range of estimates between 385,000 and 410,000. A Briefing.com survey projected new claims of 370,000 for last week. Most economists believe claims lower than 400,000 indicate the economy is expanding and jobs growth is strengthening. The four-week moving average was 399,000 claims, compared to the previous week's figure of 396,750. Last week, jobless claims rose to 412,000, with analysts tying the sudden upswing to fluctuations that often occur at the start of a new quarter, according to Econoday. Write to Kerri Panchuk.