The number of Americans getting long-term unemployment aid hit another record high last week.
Thursday's report from the Labor Department shows more than 5.8 million people collecting jobless compensation for more than one week.
It is the 11th week in a row continuing claims have hit a record high, and it is a sign that the U.S. labor market remains weak.
The number of new claims fell slightly by 20,000 to a total of 654,000.
A separate report showed the U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level in at least nine years in February.
The Commerce Department data show the gap between what Americans sell abroad and what they buy from foreigners narrowed by 28 percent for the month.
The trade deficit shrank to $26 billion in February as the faltering economy pushed imports down, while U.S. exports recovered slightly from a two-year low.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.