Jobless claims fall to 340,000

The figure is a reflection of layoffs, which usually drop as overall job growth picks up. 

The government's February jobs report is due out Friday and could show that the economy added more than 150,000 jobs.

A separate report released on Wednesday showed that the private sector hired 192,000 workers last month. The unemployment rate is expected to remain steady, although it probably dropped to 7.8 percent.