NEW YORK (AP) _ Major newspapers continued to enjoy strong sales of help-wanted advertisements last month, as demand for labor persisted in most of the nation, according to a study released today.

The Conference Board, a private business research group, said its monthly advertising index rose to 92 in August, up one point from July and up six points from a year earlier.

The index is calculated by measuring the volume of employment ads in 51 major newspapers across the country each month.

The Conference Board said that help-wanted advertising rose in five regions and fell in four over the past three months. The biggest increases were in the Middle Atlantic region and the greatest declines were in New England.

The advertising report was released the same day the Labor Department said that first-time claims for unemployment fell by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 292,000 last week, the lowest level in five months. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, is near a 28-year low.

``The stock market is wobbly, interest rates are down and the high dollar is choking exports, as profit margins narrow,'' said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein.

``But none of these developments is slowing the demand for labor. The latest reading suggests that strong employment gains will continue through the end of this year.''