The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment benefits continued to go down for five weeks in a row, but remained well above the pre-shutdown level, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
In the week ending Nov. 9, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits inched down by 2,000 to 339,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 341,000.
Before the 16-day partial federal government shutdown starting Oct. 1, the weekly applications for unemployment aid were slightly more than 300,000.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which helps smooth out week-to-week volatility, dropped by 5,750 to 344,000.
The U.S. unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 7.3 percent in October and the economy added 204,000 jobs in the month despite the partial government shutdown, according to the Labor Department.