WASHINGTON – Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims declined to 370,000 for the week ending May 19, while continuing claims fell to 3.260 million for the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The 370,000 of initial claims were down 2,000 from the previous week's revised level of 372,000, originally reported as 370,000.

Continuing claims for the week ending May 12 slid 29,000 from the previous week's revised level of 3.289 million, originally reported as 3.265 million.

The 370,000 of initial claims were the same as projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and the 3.260 million of continuing claims came in above their median estimate of 3.250 million.

The four-week moving average for initial claims was 370,000, a decrease of 5,500 from the previous week's revised average of 375,500, originally reported as 375,000.

The four-week moving average for continuing claims was 3.272 million. That figure, the lowest since the week ended Aug. 2, 2008, when the average was 3,231 million, was down 17,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 3.289 million.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 12 on an unadjusted basis were in North Carolina, which was up 1,956, Mississippi, up 675, Tennessee, up 474, and Florida, up 373.

States with the largest declines in initial claims for the week were California, which was down 3,478, New York, down 3,094, Missouri, down 2,111, Texas, down 1,446 and Illinois, down 1,363.

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