The number of Americans filing new claims for government-funded jobless benefits has dropped to a more than seven-year low.

However, the latest and last major reading of the US labour market, ahead of a crucial Federal Reserve meeting, should be viewed with scepticism -- technical issues prevented two states from processing all the claims they received during the week ended 7 September, reported Reuters.

In addition, the Labor Day holiday on 2 September could have also distorted the report.

Applications for unemployment insurance payments fell to 292,000 in the week ended 7 September, a decrease of 31,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 323,000, according to Labour Department data.

The month's reading is the lowest recorded since April, 2006. A Bloomberg survey predicted claims would rise to 330,000.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average decreased by 7,500 to 321,250, the lowest reading since October 2007.

Despite the unprocessed claims, the data showed that the US labour market was on the recovery path and this could influence the Fed's monetary stimulus decision, expected on 18 September.

The Fed's FOMC will meet on 17-18 September. Market participants expect the central bank to provide clarity on the timing and size of the planned reduction of its $85bn a month bond-buying stimulus.

"The decline might be partially determined by one-off factors," Annalisa Piazza, analyst at Newedge Strategy, said in a note. "That said, today's data certainly confirm that the US labor market seems to be on a slow healing process."

A Fed statement in July said the central bank would continue buying mortgage and treasury securities to further strengthen the US economy which it said was still challenged by federal austerity measures.

Earlier, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told the US Congress that there was no set deadline for the central bank's QE tapering.

In June, speaking at a press conference, Bernanke said the Fed could begin pruning its asset buys later this year if the US economy continues to improve, as officials expect it to, and could end its purchases by mid-2014.