The Labor Department released a rare piece of good economic news, today: Its weekly unemployment claims report shows that this past week saw the lowest number of claims in four months.
For the week ending Aug. 6, the number of unemployment claims dropped by 7,000 to 395,000, the lowest number since the week that ended April 2.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims steady at 400,000. The prior week's figure was revised up to 402,000 from the previously reported 400,000.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, slipped 3,250 to 405,000. Economists say both initial claims and the four-week average need to drop close to 350,000 to signal a sustainable improvement in the labor market.