Applications for jobless benefits in the U.S. fell unexpectedly for the week ended Dec. 11, posting a decline for two consecutive weeks.

Initial jobless claims in the U.S. fell 3,000 to 420,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Markets had expected the claimant count to rise by 4,000 to 425,000 from 421,000 in the previous week. However, last week’s figure has been revised to 423,000.

The seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average of initial claims -- considered as a more accurate measure of employment trends than the weekly number -- decreased by 5,250 to 422,750.

Also, the number of people who continued to collect unemployment benefits increased by 22,000 to 4.13 million for the week ended Dec. 4.

The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits remained unchanged at 3.3 percent in the week ended Dec. 4.

New York witnessed the largest increase in claims during the week, with an additional 16,683 people filing for unemployment benefits.

Overall, the number of people receiving jobless allowance from state and federal governments stood at 9.19 million in the week ended Nov. 27, up 893,959 from the prior week.