WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- The number of first-time filers for state unemployment benefits dipped last week, the government said Thursday, a week after reporting an unexpected uptick.

Initial jobless claims fell by 14,000 to 460,000 for the week ending May 22, the Labor Department reported this morning. Wall Street was expecting claims to fall to 455,000 from the prior week's pre-revised 471,000 tally, according to consensus figures provided by Briefing.com.

Last Thursday, the department originally reported that new claims rose by a disappointing 25,000 for the week ending May 15, but this week that total was revised slightly higher to 474,000.

The moving average of new claims over the past four weeks edged higher by 2,250 to 456,500, though the number of those continuing on jobless benefit roles declined to 4.607 million from 4.656 million for the week ending May 15.

The government will offer its latest and best assessment of the labor market picture at the end of next week, with many expecting figures to continue showing job gains in May. Early estimates predict that employers added another 500,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls this month, according to Briefing.com, while the nation's unemployment rate probably edged lower to 9.8% from 9.9%.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York