The number of initial jobless claims filed by unemployed Americans fell 1.3% last week to 382,000 claims submitted on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said Thursday morning. That compares to the revised figure of 387,000 filings for a week earlier. Overall, the number of initial jobless claims fell by 5,000 for the week ended March 19, making it the second consecutive decline in the past two weeks. The four-week moving average hit 385,250, down 1,500 from the previous weeks average of 386,750. “Fewer and fewer Americans are claiming unemployment benefits in a developing trend that will boost expectations for accelerating payroll growth,” analysts with Econoday said Thursday. “These are the best readings of the recovery.” Analysts surveyed by Econoday were expecting jobless claims of 385,000 last week with a ranges of estimates between 378,000 and 390,000. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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