In the week ending January 1, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 7,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised level of 200,000, according to a report released by the department's Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS).
The four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, increased by 4,750 to 204,500, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.
The latest jobless claims report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending December 25, 2021 increased by 36,000 to 1.75 million.
That number peaked in April and May in 2020, when it was over 20 million.
Payroll data company Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported on Wednesday that private companies in the US added 807,000 jobs in December, indicating continued recovery in the labour market.
The BLS is set to release the crucial monthly employment report on Friday, which will include employment data from both the private sector and the government.