The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims rose 30,000 from last week to 778,000, according to Labor Department data released Wednesday.
It marked the second consecutive rise in weekly initial jobless claims as millions of Americans are still waiting for a relief bill that failed to pass Congress before the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Analysts expected 730,000 claims for the week ending Nov. 21. The previous week's figure was revised up 6,000 from 742,000 to 748,000.
The states of Illinois, Michigan, and Washington saw the highest rises in claims, while Louisiana, Massachusetts, and New Jersey posted major declines.
The world's largest economy lost 22 million jobs in March and April and has since been able to fill about half of those positions.
Gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter grew 33.1%, from the same period last year, according to a second estimate by the Commerce Department.
The American economy saw its GDP contract a record 31.4% in the second quarter because of weak economic activity caused by COVID-19.
Stocks were headed for a mixed opening Wednesday after the Dow Jones hit an all-time high of 30,000 points Tuesday with optimistic investors hoping for a potentially faster economic recovery.