New claims for US unemployment benefits dipped last week, official data showed Thursday in a report underscoring little improvement in the ailing labor market. Initial jobless claims fell to 409,000 in the week ending August 27, a decline of 12,000 from the prior week's revised 421,000 reading, the Labor Department said. Claims remained stuck firmly above the 400,000 level, with the four-week moving average rising by 1,750 to 410,250 claims. For the week ending August 20, the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits at all levels fell to 3.74 million from the prior week's revised 3.75 million. The claims report came ahead of Friday's closely watched Labor Department monthly data on jobs creation and unemployment. Most analysts expect the August numbers to show further weakness in the labor market, where nearly 14 million workers are without jobs. According to their average estimates, the world's largest economy added a net 73,000 jobs last month, down from 117,000 in July, while the unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.1 percent.