US jobless benefit claims down by 11K in one week

US jobless benefits fell by a larger-than-expected 11,000 in one week, suggesting a healthy labor market and more job growth in March 2006. The Labor Department said the number of Americans filing initial claims for state unemployment aid fell to 302,000 in the week ended March 18 from an upwardly revised 313,000 in the prior week. It was the first drop in claims after 3 straight weekly increases.