By John S. McClenahen Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 333,000 last week, some 2,000 more than the previous week's revised total of 331,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Nov. 10. Economists generally expected a greater gain, to 339,000. However, the department's four-week moving average for initial jobless claims fell by 5,500 last week to 336,000. That's significant since the moving average, which smoothes out week-to-week changes in claims, is considered a better indicator of underlying U.S. labor market conditions. "A slide in hurricane-related claims and the absence of Columbus Day [holiday] distortions likely explain the downtrend," says UBS Investment Research.