Initial jobless claims dropped 23,000 to 340,000 in the week ended May 18, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Claims for the week ended May 11 were revised up to 363,000 from the initially reported 360,000.

Continuing jobless claims were 2.912 million in the week ended May 18, a 112,000 decrease from the upwardly revised 3.024 million the week before, first reported as 3.009 million.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected 346,000 initial and 3.000 million continuing claims.

The four-week average of initial claims slid 500 in the week ended May 18 to 339,500.

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