First-time jobless claims totaled 963,000 last week versus the Wall Street estimate of 1.1 million.
That was the first time below 1 million since March 14.
Continuing claims totaled 15.5 million, down more than 600,000.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance last week fell below 1 million for the first time since March 21 in a sign that the labor market is continuing its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Jobless claims had totaled above 1 million for 20 consecutive weeks as the U.S. economy went into lockdown to contain Covid-19. The last time the total was below that number was March 14, with 282,000, just as the pandemic declaration first hit.