First-time claims for unemployment benefits rose to 381,000, an increase of 15,000 in the week ending Dec. 24, the Labor Department announced Thursday. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 375,000, a decrease of 5,750 from the previous week's revised average of 380,750. Economists say that jobless claims between 350,000 and 375,000 indicate sustained job growth. The number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending Dec. 17 was 3,601,000, an increase of 34,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,567,000. The four-week moving average was 3,598,750, a decrease of 39,000 from the previous week. States reported 2,926,135 persons claiming emergency unemployment benefits for the week ending Dec. 10 (the most recent data available), a decrease of 15,022 from the prior week. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Dec. 10 was 7,231,514, an increase of 79,385 from the previous week. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Dec. 17 were in California, Missouri, New York, Nevada, and Washington. The largest decreases were in Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas.