NEW YORK(

TheStreet

) -- The number of Americans filing for first time unemployment benefits fell last week to levels last seen in 2008 according to a Labor Department report.

Initial jobless claims dropped by 19,000 to 366,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended Dec. 10 from a revised 385,000 in the previous week. Economists had expected to see claims rise to 390,000 from the originally reported 381,000 the prior week, according to Thomson Reuters.

The four-week moving average declined by 6,500 to 387,750 from the previous week's revised average of 394,250.

Unadjusted, there were 433,287 initial claims last week, an 11.9% drop from the comparable week in 2010.

-- Written by Kaitlyn Kiernan in New York.

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