Initial jobless claims fell 5.6% for the week ended Sept. 4, coming in well below analysts' estimates and marking the third-consecutive week of declines in the number of people filing for unemployment. The Labor Department said seasonally adjusted initial claims decreased by 27,000 to 451,000 from the previous week's revised figure. The drop was steeper than many economists were expecting. A survey projected a slight decline to 475,000 and the range of estimates gathered by Econoday was 465,000 to 480,000. The four-week moving average of 477,750 claims is about 1.9% lower than the prior week's revised average of 487,000, according to the Labor Department data. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained flat with the prior week at 3.5%. Some states didn't report jobless claims data to the Labor Department last week because of the Labor Day holiday, according to Bloomberg. Write to Jason Philyaw.