Mildly better news arrived from the Labor Department's Thursday report on jobless claims filings: the seasonally adjusted initial claims were below the magic number of 400,000, to 397,000. It's only the third time that the claims have dipped below that level since April, the Associated Press writes, which is said to signal when the U.S. economy is creating more jobs than it is losing. The AP provides a new target: if claims fell to 375,000 it would signal "sustained job gains." From the Labor Department's release:

In the week ending October 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 397,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 406,000. The 4-week moving average was 404,500, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised average of 406,500.

In an instant reaction brief, Reuters had something semi-cheery to say, writing that the numbers showed "modest improvement in the still-moribund labor market."