Initial claims declined by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 260,000 for the week ended Sept. 30, down from the previous week's unrevised level of 272,000, data from the U.S. Department of Labor showed.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria impacted this week's claims, the department said.
The four-week moving average slipped to 268,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 277,750, which was the highest level since early February 2016.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.4% for the week that ended Sept. 23. The advance number for insured unemployment gained to 1,938,000, from the previous week's revised 1,936,000 figure, which was revised up by 2,000.