Initial jobless claims fell to 402,000 compared with a revised 405,000 the previous week. The four-week moving average, considered a better indicator of labor trends, increased by 3,500 to 398,000.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate for the week ending August 25 was unchanged from the previous week at 2.5%, the DOL said.
The number of new claims has been falling for the last six weeks from an early June peak of 435,000.
However, the number of Americans who have already filed for at least one week of benefits continued rising for the week ending August 25. According to the Labor Department, 3.2 million people were in that category during the period – up 37,000 from the week before.
This equals the figure for the week ending September 26, 1992, when continued claims came in at 3.21 million as the US battled a recession.