Still, the four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose to 405,500. The average had fallen to a six-month low two weeks ago.
Despite the recent declines, applications are stuck above 400,000, where they have been for all but two weeks since March. Applications need to fall consistently below 375,000 to signal sustainable job growth. They havent been below that level since February.
Meanwhile, the number of laid-off workers receiving benefits dropped to 3.65 million, the lowest level in three years.
Also on Thursday, the US government said the economy grew modestly over the summer after nearly stalling in the first six months of the year. It was lifted by stronger consumer spending and business investment.
The economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5% in the July-September quarter.