WASHINGTON (AP) _ The government says fewer people signed up for unemployment benefits last week, although that didn't change the broader picture of a slower jobs market.

The Labor Department, in a new report Thursday, says new applications filed for unemployment benefits last week fell by a seasonally adjusted 9,000 to 366,000. That level of 366,000 was better than the 371,000 that many economists were forecasting. Still, economists predict the nation's labor market will slow and unemployment will rise this year, given the credit and financial crises.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.