Economists in the Reuters poll had expected 342,000 first-time applications last week. The Bloomberg poll predicted 340,000. The prior week was revised 2,000 higher to 334,000, a seven week low.
The four-week moving average for new claims, a more stable measure of labor market trends, fell 7,500 to 339,750. It was the lowest level since February 2008.
Chart: FX Street