-- "Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the second drop in a row and a hopeful sign the job market could be improving.The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for jobless benefits dropped 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 434,000 in the week that ended Oct. 23 (see chart above). It was the second-lowest number for claims this year. The only time it was lower was during the July 10 week, and that week was affected by the Independence Day holiday when state unemployment offices were closed."
Except for the holiday-related July 10 low, last week's 434,000 seasonally-adjusted weekly claims for unemployment insurance was the lowest since the week of August 23, 2008, more than two year ago (see chart).
In some positive labor market news from Europe, the German unemployment rate
fell in September to an 18-year low of 7.5%, the lowest jobless rate since 1991, and analysts expect the positive trend to continue.