WASHINGTON – Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims fell to 352,000 for the week ending Jan.14, a decrease of 50,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 402,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Continuing claims declined to 3.432 million for the week ending Jan. 7, a decrease of 215,000 from the previous week's revised level of 3.647 million.

The 352,000 initial claims were much lower than the median 385,000 projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters and the 3.432 million of continuing claims were fewer than the median 3.610 million they estimated.

The drop in initial claims was the largest since Sept. 24, 2005, a Labor Department official said.

The four-week moving average for initial claims was 379,000, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 382,500.

The four-week moving average for continuing claims was 3.576 million, which is down 34,000 from the preceding week's revised average.

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