Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 in the week that ended Feb. 17 from a downwardly revised 229,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said.
The four-week moving average stood at 226,000, down 2,250 from last week's level of 228,250, which also represented a downward revision.
The department said claims-taking procedures continue to be affected by storm recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 1.3% for the week that ended Feb. 10. Insured unemployment dropped by 73,000 to 1,875,000 for the week ended Feb. 10 from the previous week's upwardly revised 1,948,000.