WASHINGTON – Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims fell to 359,000 for the week ending March 24, the lowest level since April 19, 2008, when they were 352,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The 359,000 estimate was down 5,000 from the previous week's revised level of 364,000, originally reported as 348,000.

The large revision was due to the fact that the department released new seasonal factors this week and revised the seasonal factors from January 2007 through the week ending March 17, 2012, department officials said.

Continuing claims were down to 3.340 million for the week ending March 17, the lowest since August 9, 2008, when they were 3.330 million.

The 3.340 million was down 41,000 from the previous week's revised level of 3.381 million, originally reported as 3.352 million.

The 359,000 of initial claims were higher than the median estimate of 350,000 projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, while the 3.340 million of continuing claims were lower than their median estimate of 3.350 million.

The four-week moving average for initial claims was 365,000, down 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 369,000, originally reported as 355,000. It was the lowest level since May 10, 2008, when the four-week moving average was 364,250.

The four-week moving average for continuing claims was 3.388 million, a drop of 21,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 3.410 million average and the lowest since Aug. 23, 2008, when it was 3.361 million.

The Labor Department estimated data for two states, Alaska and Hawaii, after they failed to provide it.

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