The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims increased 13,000 to 861,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Analysts expected 765,000 for the week ending Feb. 13, while the previous week was revised up 55,000 from 793,000 to 848,000.
Despite the fall in claims, there are 10.1 million jobless Americans since the coronavirus pandemic-hit US economy shed 22 million positions in March and April.
President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief plan, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals and aid for vaccine distribution efforts, still faces opposition from Republicans.
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives plans to pass the bill before the end of the month but are likely to try to push it through the Senate without a single vote from their Republican counterparts.