After experiencing a sharp increase a week earlier, jobless claims for the five-day period ending September 15 fell slightly.
The number of applications for unemployment insurance edged down to 382,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 385,000 filings.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average hit 377,750, an increase of 2,000 filings from the previous period.
The decline comes after a sharp 15,000-increase in applications for the week ending Sept. 8.
Unemployment remains a challenge for policymakers and Federal Reserve officials.
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston CEO Eric Rosengren said in a speech Thursday that the Fed took aggressive monetary action – including the latest round of mortgage-backed securities purchases – to fight longterm unemployment. The MBS purchases are forecasted to target interest rates and the housing market, with the ultimate goal being a pickup in construction jobs and activity levels.
While quantitative easing and low-interest rate policies are attracting negative attention, Rosengren told the South Shore Chamber of Commerce in Quincy, Mass., that the Fed views high unemployment as a long-term threat to economic stability.
"In my view a Great Stagnation – in current times or any other – would be a long episode that generally includes a willingness among policymakers to accept as inevitable, and decline to resist, far-less-than-optimal outcomes," Rosengren said. "Such outcomes could include higher unemployment, with the potential result that high unemployment could become entrenched as a more permanent feature of the economic landscape."