WASHINGTON — Initial jobless claims fell to 444,000 for the week ending May 8, the fourth straight weekly decline, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

Continuing claims increased to 4.627 million for the week ending May 1, the first increase in four weeks. Economists had expected 440,000 initial claims and 4.570 million continuing claims, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Initial claims for the previous week were revised higher to 448,000 from the 444,000 initially reported. Continuing claims for the week ending April 24 were revised to 4.615 million.

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