Jobless claims inched higher for the week ending March 16, with 336,000 Americans filing for benefits, an increase of 2,000 applications from the previous week.

Compared to month ago levels, jobless claims fell significantly.

"A comparison of the March 16 week with the February 16 week, which matches the sampling weeks of the government's monthly employment report, shows a big 30,000 decline," said an analyst with Econoday.

Based on the most recent data available, 5.4 million people claimed unemployment benefits for the week ending March 2, a decrease of 64,575 filings from the prior report.

The number of citizens filing for unemployment within state programs hovered near the 3-million mark for the week ending March 16, falling by 18,000 filings from a week earlier.

The four-week moving jobless claims average also declined by 7,500 filings to 339,750, down from 347,250.

"A comparison of the four-week averages for the sampling weeks shows a 22,000 decline. These comparisons point to solid improvement for the March employment report," Econoday analysts said.