Initial jobless claims decreased by 15,000 in the week ending Feb. 4 to a seasonably adjusted 358,000, the second lowest level since April 2008, and a further sign that the labor market is finding stronger footing. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 366,250, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department announced Thursday. Economists consider between 350,000 and 375,000 as a benchmark for sustained hiring that will lower the unemployment rate. The number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending Jan. 28 was 3,515,000, an increase of 64,000 from the prior week. The four-week moving average was 3,527,500, a decrease of 43,000 from the preceding week. States reported 2,985,907 persons claiming emergency unemployment benefits for the week ending Jan. 21 (the most recent data available), a decrease of 21,789 from the prior week. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Jan. 21 was 7,663,205, an increase of 7,982 from the previous week. The largest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ending Jan. 28 were in California, Florida, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The largest decreases were in Alabama, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.