The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims fell last week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported.

Jobless claims for the week ending May 18 were 416,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 425,000. Initial claims peaked out at 492,000 in the week ended March 30, and have been declining steadily ever since, said Thomas Stengle of the Labor Department.

The four-week moving average, which smoothes out week-to-week fluctuations, fell 2,750 to 420,000 from the previous week's revised average of 422,750.