* ECB stays put on rates, avoids dramatic action * Bank of England holds back on more stimulus * U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly fall By Luciana Lopez NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - Prices for U.S. Treasuries fell on Thursday as a surprise drop in jobless claims added to signs of a strengthening labor market, raising hopes the world's largest economy was gaining steam. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week. The data came a day after a report showed unexpectedly strong hiring by private employers last month. "This is not a sign of a slowly growing economy," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York. "This is not an economy that needs to be strengthened by Federal Reserve policy four years after the recession ended." Still, he said, "the bond market remains focused, to the extent it trades at all with the 800 pound gorilla of Fed QE on its back, on the unemployment rate." The government will release its closely watched monthly report on the labor market on Friday, and traders are unlikely to take big risks ahead of that, Rupkey said. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes slipped 14/32 in price to yield 1.986 percent, from 1.9427 percent on Wednesday. Prices for 30-year bonds dropped 24/32 to yield 3.193 percent, from 3.1557 percent late Wednesday. Payrolls processor ADP on Wednesday reported that U.S. private employers added 198,000 jobs in February. ID:nEAPA60EH0] The ADP report and Thursday's jobless claims boosted hopes that Friday's Labor Department payrolls report will beat expectations. That report is key because the Fed has said it will keep interest rates near zero until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent, as long as inflation does not threaten to top 2.5 percent. Analysts in a Reuters poll, expect the jobless rate in February to have remained unchanged from January's 7.9 percent. The Fed's support has helped fuel global appetite for riskier assets, with the bank buying $85 billion per month of mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries through the year. Other central banks on Thursday proved cautious about changing their policy stance. The European Central Bank kept interest rates steady, and bank chief Mario Draghi suggested the bank is in no mood to act. Analysts said Draghi's remarks walked the line between dovish and hawkish. "All in all, Mario Draghi today had a bit for everyone," said Carsten Brzeski of ING Bank. "In fact, Draghi gave an elegant 'we-never-pre-commit' show, keeping all options open." In addition, the Bank of England held fire on more economic stimulus on Thursday, declining to launch a new round of government bond purchases.