<HEADLINE>U.S. JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE SLIGHTLY, LABOR MARKET IMPROVING@
WASHINGTON, July 3 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose marginally last week, but continued to suggest the labor market was steadily improving.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 315,000 for the week ended June 28, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The prior week's claims were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless aid rising to 314,000 last week.
A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing the state level data.
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose by 500 to 315,000 last week.
The claims report showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 11,000 to 2.58 million in the week ended June 21. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)