FILE - NH downtown, shops, commerce, retail 10-14-2019

The center of town and traffic on Main Street is seen Oct. 14, 2019, in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The town sits near Little Coolidge Mountain, seen in the background.

(The Center Square) – First-time unemployment claims in New Hampshire receded further last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's weekly report.

There were 478 new applications for state jobless benefits filed for the week that ended Aug. 28 – at least 76 fewer than the previous week, the federal agency reported on Thursday.

The state reported 15 new claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance last week, three fewer than the previous week, according to the report.

Meanwhile, continuing state unemployment claims – which lag behind a week – totaled 4,661 in the week ending Aug. 21, a decrease of 513 over the previous week.

New Hampshire is one of 25 states that have ended participation in PUA and other federal unemployment programs.

Last week, a group of jobless workers filed a lawsuit against the Sununu administration, asking a judge to reinstate the PUA program for those eligible and provide payments dating back to mid-June, when the state ended its participation in the program. The case is set for hearing on Friday in state Superior Court.

The state has distributed more than $1.8 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits to workers since March 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak began.

New Hampshire's jobless rate remained steady at 2.9% in July – one of the lowest rates in the nation, according to the New Hampshire Employment Security.

Nationally, there were 340,000 new claims filed in the week that ended Aug. 28, an increase of 14,000 from the previous week, according to the labor department.

Continuing unemployment claims, which lag behind a week, dropped by 160,000 to about 2.7 million nationally for the week that ended Aug. 24. That's a new pandemic low, according to the federal agency.

Despite the improving labor conditions, an estimated 12.1 million Americans were still receiving state or federal jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 14, the agency reported.