The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits dropped last week to 346,000, a decrease of 11,000, slightly higher than the number analysts were expecting.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expected, on average, claims for the seven days ended Saturday would drop to 345,000, less than the previous week's 357,000.

For the seven days ended June 1, first-time unemployment claims fell to 346,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 357,000. The four-week moving average was 352,500, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week's revised average of 348,000.

The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid fell 52,000 to 2.95 million in the week ended May 25. The four-week average for the so-called continuing claims was the lowest since May 2008.