New claims for unemployment benefits fell for the second consecutive week to 545,000, the Labor Department said on Sept. 17.
The seasonally adjusted number of claims fell by 12,000 in the week ending September 12 from the previous week's revised figure of 557,000.
The four-week moving average was 563,000, a decrease of 8,750 from the previous week's revised average of 571,750.
The total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits rose.
According to the Labor Department, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending September 5 was 6.23 million, an increase of 129,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6.101 million.
The monthly report for August showed unemployment hitting a 26-year high of 9.7% with 216,000 jobs lost.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009