“In the week ending 23 January, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 847,000”, the department said in a news release.
It revised up claims in the prior week to January 16 to 914,000, from a previously published 900,000. That brought the latest week’s claims down by 67,000, or 7.3 percent.
Economists polled by US media had forecast 875,000 claims for the week to 23 January.
Continuing weekly claims, reported with a one-week lag but sometimes considered a better gauge of the labor market, slid to 4.77 million for the week ended January 23 from a previous 4.97 million. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, slid to 3.4 percent from the 3.6 percent reported for the week to 16 January.
The United States lost more than 21 million jobs between March and April, at the height of business lockdowns forced by the coronavirus. A rebound of 2.5 million jobs was logged in May and 4.8 million in June, before the recovery began slowing. For both September and October, fewer than 700,000 jobs were added each month. In November, there were just 245,000 additions, while December saw a loss of 140,000 jobs — the first such decline since April.
Earlier on Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that US GDP shrank 3.5 percent in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on the economy and shut down businesses and activity across the country.