First-time claims for unemployment dipped slightly by 5,000 to 385,000 in the week that ended March 19, the Labor Department announced on Thursday. This is the fourth decrease in the last five weeks. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 385,250, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week. The Labor Department also reported that for the week that ended March 12, the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help dropped to 3,721 million, a decrease of 2,000 from the preceding week, and the dewest since September 2008. Analysts cite a figure below 400,000 as a surer sign to indicate a decline in the unemployment rate. Less welcome news were Commerce Department figures that orders for durable goods fell 0.9% in February from January. Waning firings and a pickup in hiring are helping to ensure gains in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, Bloomberg reported.