WASHINGTON, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid continued to fall last week, hitting a six-week low, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 340,000 in the week ending March 2, down 7,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 347,000.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, fell 7,000 to 348,750, the lowest level since March 8, 2008. Fewer than 375,000 claims generally indicates a sustained drop in the unemployment rate.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Feb. 23 was 3.094 million, an increase of 3,000 from the prior week.
The improving labor market runs counter to fears about what government spending cuts beginning on March 1 might mean. But some economists say there may be more people applying for unemployment aid in the next few weeks due to the roughly 85 billion dollars of sequestration.
The U.S. government is expected to release the February jobs report on Friday. In January, the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent with the private sector creating 166,000 jobs.