A plunge in the number of first-time claims for jobless benefits last week to a 7-year-low 292,000 can be partly explained away by "technical problems," Reuters writes:
A Labor Department analyst "said the majority of the decline appeared to be because two states were upgrading their computer systems and did not process all the claims they received during the week. One of the states was large and the other small, the analyst said."
At 292,000, claims were down 31,000 from the previous week and were the lowest since the week ended April 1, 2006. That was well before the U.S. economy officially slipped into its most recent recession, in December 2007.
We'll watch for next Thursday's report on claims to see how much this latest number is revised.