) -- The volume of new, first-time filers for state unemployment benefits fell modestly last week, according to a government report released Thursday morning.
Initial jobless claims dropped by 11,000 for the week ending April 24 to land at 448,000, the Labor Department said. A consensus of Wall Street analysts had expected new claims to decline to 445,000 from a pre-revised 456,000 the week prior, according to figures provided by Briefing.com.
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The moving average of new claims data over the past four weeks edged up by 1500 to 462,500. Meanwhile, the number of those continuing on jobless benefit rolls declined to 4.645 million for the week ending April 17 from a slightly upwardly revised 4.663 million.
Steep job losses have waned over the recent months, but high unemployment remains. The
Federal Open Market Committee
reiterated as much on Wednesday following its April meeting. In holding its key fed funds rate at near zero, the Federal Reserve's policy-making arm highlighted lingering sluggishness in the job market. The group of public sector economists said while the labor market is beginning to see some gains, unemployment continues to weigh on spending and employers remain wary of adding to their payrolls.
The government will release its latest read on the job market at the end of next week when it reports April's nonfarm payroll data. The government said employers added 162,000 jobs in March, while the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 9.7%.
--Written by Sung Moss in New York