Applications for jobless benefits in the U.S. fell more than expected for the week ended Jan. 29, following a sharp increase in the previous week.

Initial jobless claims in the U.S. decreased by 42,000 to 415,000 compared with revised figure of 457,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Markets had expected the jobless claims to decrease to 425,000.

However, the seasonally adjusted four-week moving average of initial claims -- considered as a more accurate measure of employment trends than the weekly number -- increase by 1,000 to 430,500.

Also, the unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits declined 0.1 percent to 3.1 percent for the week ending Jan. 22.

While Georgia witnessed the largest increase in claims with 10,335 people filing for employment benefits, California saw the largest drop in claims at 13,775.

Overall, the number of people receiving jobless allowance from state and federal governments stood at 9.29 million in the week ended Jan. 15, down 112,118 from the prior week.