Jobless Claims Hit 3.5 Year Low

Initial jobless claims fell last week to 366,000, the lowest point since May 2008, the Labor Department announced today.

The four-week moving average, which smooths fluctuations, fell to 387,750.

Jobless claims must remain below 400,000 consistently for hires to begin outpacing layoffs, economists say. Today’s announcement marks the third week in a row that claims have fallen beneath this milestone.

Meanwhile, for the week ended Nov. 26, the most recent week data were available, 7.5 million Americans, or 874,000 more than the prior week, were on some form of unemployment benefits.