The Labor Department says the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell slightly to a seasonally adjusted 336,500.
That average indicates that companies are cutting few jobs and anticipate steady economic growth despite the winter slowdown. Applications are a rough proxy for layoffs.
Economists are watching these numbers ahead of the February jobs report being released Friday. Cold weather and snowstorms appear to have limited hiring in January and December.
A total of 3.4 million Americans received benefits as of Feb. 15 — the latest period for which figures are available — down from 3.49 million the previous week.