The Labor Department announced that initial unemployment claims dropped 34,000 to 407,000, the lowest level since July 2008. Economists had expected initial claims to fall to a seasonally-adjusted 435,000. Claims in the prior week were revised 2,000 higher to 441,000. Jobless claims have continually fallen for the last four out of the past five weeks. Claims need to drop to around 400,000 for a sustained period to indicate a faster pace of hiring. This might be a short-term fix as retailers hire for the holidays, and then we are going to see a major jump in January again.