Initial unemployment claims decreased by 20,000 for the week ended Feb. 26, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Jobless claims fell to 368,000 for the last week in February when adjusted seasonally—down from the 388,000 recorded the previous week, according to the government agency. Unadjusted, the advance number of actual initial jobless claims under state programs totaled 351,076 in the week ending Feb. 26, which represented a 30,029 decrease from the previous week. The Department of Labor recorded 471,256 initial claims for the same week in 2010, according to the report.

The decline means that claims for unemployment benefits claims have fallen to their lowest levels in more than 2-1/2 yeasr, according to Reuters.

The 4-week moving average for the week ended Feb. 26 was also recorded to be 388,500— representing a decline of 12,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 401,250, according to the report.

For the week ending Feb. 19 there were 1,793 initial claims were filed by federal employees, while 2,296 were recorded for recently discharged veterans.

During the week of Feb. 19 the adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3%, which was a decrease of 0.1% from the previous week’s rate and lower than the 4.3% the rate was recorded to be in the same period in 2010. Unadjusted, the rate was 3.4% for the week ended Feb. 19, which represented a 0.3% decrease from the previous week.  The Labor Department’s report also indicated that the unadjusted number of individuals claiming job unemployment benefits in state programs was just over 4.3 million—a 2262,10 decrease from the previous week.

According to government agency the largest increases in initial claims for Feb. 19 were in (+530), Oregon (+339), Tennessee (+225), Alaska (+191), and Vermont (+186). The largest decreases were recorded in the states of New York (-4,270), Pennsylvania (-3,842), Wisconsin (-3,163), Kentucky (-2,641), and Florida (-2,613).

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