Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week to a seasonally adjusted 330,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 335,000, and a new five-year low. The four-week moving average, a less volatile number that flattens out week-to-week fluctuations in the data, was 351,750, a decrease of 8,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 360,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday. Economists state that initial claims for unemployment benefits below 350,000 indicate an improving job market. But last week’s decrease may reflect the government’s difficulty in making seasonal adjustments to the figures after the holidays. jobless claims The advance number of Americans filing for continuing unemployment claims during the week ending Jan. 12 was 3,157,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the preceding week. The four-week moving average was 3,197,500, a decrease of 12,250 from the prior week. States reported 1,693,797 persons claiming emergency unemployment compensation in the week ending Jan. 5, a decrease of 365,641 from the prior week. There were 2,922,533 2,93 claimants in the comparable week in 2011. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Jan. 5 was 5,659,760, a decrease of 214,076 from the previous week. There were 7,670,108 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2011. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Jan. 12 were in California Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, and Texas. The largest decreases were in Alabama, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.