WASHINGTON – Seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims fell to 357,000 for the week ending March 31, the lowest level since April 19, 2008, when there were 352,000 such claims, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The 357,000 was down 6,000 from the previous week's revised level of 363,000, originally reported as 359,000.

Continuing claims were down to 3.338 million for the week ending March 24, the lowest since August 9, 2008, when they were 3.330 million.

The 3.338 million was down 16,000 from the previous week's revised level of 3.354 million, originally reported as 3.340 million.

The 357,000 initial claims were higher than the median estimate of 355,000 projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, while the 3.338 million of continuing claims were lower than their median estimate of 3.350 million.

The four-week moving average for initial claims was 361,750, down 4,250 from the previous week's revised average of 366,000, originally reported as 365,000. It was the lowest level since April 26, 2008, when the four-week moving average was 360,500.

The four-week moving average for continuing claims was 3.367 million, a drop of 24,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3.392 million and the lowest since Aug. 23, 2008, when the average was 3.361 million.

The Labor Department estimated data for the U.S. Virgin Islands after that territory failed to provide it.

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