New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits fell slightly last week, government data released Thursday showed, in a report highlighting little change in the troubled jobs market.

Initial jobless claims fell to 382,000 in the week ended September 15, dropping 3,000 from the prior week's upwardly revised number, the Labor Department said.

The four-week moving average rose by 2,000 to 377,750 claims.

Jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, have moved in a tight range during recent months.

The weak economy added a meager 96,000 jobs in August, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent due to people dropping out of the work force.