The agency says there were 380,000 such applications, up from 367,000 (a number that has been revised upward; previously, the agency had estimated there were 357,000 claims in the week ended March 31).
Claims had been running at the lowest pace since March and April 2008. At 380,000, the pace is the lowest since June 2008.
The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.2 percent in March from 8.3 percent in February, but only 120,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this morning in a report that was less positive about the labor market's health than economists had expected.
Prior to the news, forecasters had predicted BLS would say about 200,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month.
The morning's major news, if all goes as planned, will be the 8:30 a.m. ET release of the March jobs and unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to Reuters, economists expect we'll hear that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent and that private and public employers added about 200,000 jobs to their payrolls. The jobless rate's recent peak was 10 percent, in October 2009.
On the plus side, the ADP National Employment Report issued this morning estimates there were 209,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in March. And ADP's data often are something of a predictor for what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will have to say when it issues its monthly numbers. Those March figures are due on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.