The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly more than expected last week, Reuters reported.


Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Aug. 16, the U.S. Labor Department said today. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 300,000 last week.


Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.


The four-week average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 4,750 to 300,750. But at that level, it remains consistent with solid job growth and claims are back at their pre-recession levels, Reuters said.