First-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week by 12,000 from the previous week to a near five-year low of 334,000,. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 345,250, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The advance number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending June 1 was 2,973,000, an increase of 2,000 from the prior week. The four-week moving average was 2,967,250, a decrease of 12,750 from the preceding week. States reported 1,703,458 persons claiming emergency unemployment compensation in the week ending May 25, a decrease of 57,135 from the prior week. There were 2,551,539 claimants in the comparable week in 2012. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending May 25 was 4,515,445, a decrease of 129,863 from the previous week. There were 5,827,210 claimants in all programs in the comparable week in 2012. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 1 were in Tennessee, New York, Oregon, Montana, and North Carolina, while the largest decreases were in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Missouri.