The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected last week, government data showed on Thursday, pointing to an easing of labor market weakness.


Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits fell 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 601,000 in the week ended June 6, the Labor Department said. It was the fourth straight week the number of claims declined or was unchanged.


Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting claims to drop to 615,000 from a previously reported 621,000.


However, the number of people staying on the benefit rolls after collecting an initial week of aid rose to a record 6.82 million in the week of May 30, the latest week for which data is available.


It was the 19th week in a row so-called continued claims set a record.


The 4-week moving average for new claims, considered to be a better gauge of underlying trends because it smoothes out week-to-week volatility, fell to 621,750, the lowest since February 14.