The more stable four-week moving average of new claims, which smoothes out weekly volatility, fell to 474,750, the lowest since early October.
The number of initial claims fell by 8,000 to 444,000 in the week ending November 10, from a revised 452,000 the previous week. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the figure to rise to 466,000.
Nonetheless, the unemployment picture remains gloomy, with workers remaining unemployed for longer. The number of workers claiming an additional week of benefits rose for the eighth consecutive week to 3.83 million in the week ended November 3, the latest week for which data are available – and the highest since February 1983, when the figure reached 3,865,000.