First-time applicants fell by less than 30,000 to a nationwide total of 339,000. That means fewer people were laid off last week.
The report was better than most economists had predicted, and was in line with a recent improvement in the unemployment rate, which dropped to 7.8 percent.
Worries about jobs are the top issue in the current presidential election, so such reports are getting close scrutiny by voters and candidates.
A separate report showed the U.S. trade deficit grew by 4.1 percent in August, as the cost of imported oil rose and economic troubles in Europe and elsewhere cut demand for U.S.-made products.
That is one reason that Thursday's survey by the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation predicts slowing growth for the U.S. factory sector over the next few months.
Manufacturing has been a "bright spot" in the painfully slow U.S. economic recovery. VoA.
Last week, the BLS stated that 114,000 people had found jobs last month, marking the second month (269,000 more newly unemployed than found new jobs in August) in a row that more than 200,000 more people lost their jobs than those that found a new job, while the "unemployment rate" miraculously fell a cumulative .5% in the process.
In the two months of August (269,000) and September (225,000), 494,000 more people became unemployed (365,000 + 339,000 new unemployed respectively) than found jobs (96,000 + 114,000 respectively). With an increase in the net number of unemployed, the "official unemployment rate" was lowered.