WASHINGTON — Initial claims dropped 16,000 to 385,000 for the week ending March 12, as the four-week moving average for initial claims dropped to the lowest level in more than two years, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Continuing claims dropped for the fourth straight week to 3.706 million for the week ending March 5, the lowest level since September 2008.

Initial claims dipped to 385,000 following an upwardly revised 401,000 for the week ending March 5. The four-week moving average for initial claims, a less volatile figure, fell to 386,250.

Economists expected 387,000 initial claims and 3.750 million continuing claims.

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