Jobless Claims' 4-week moving average dropped 7,750 to 473,750, according to the latest weekly Labor Department report released today, another sign that the labor market may be approaching the end of its steep decline.

For the week ending Dec. 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 474,000, up 17,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 457,000. The four week moving average is considered a more accurate predictor of the jobs situation, smoothing out week-to-week adjustments.

The 4-week moving average of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment for the week ending Nov. 28 was 5,157,000, a drop of 123,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 5,540,000, the Department said.