Jobless claims for the week ending February 9th fell for the second consecutive week. Claims fell by 9,000, to 348,000, from an upwardly revised 357,000. The 4-week moving average rose 12,000, to 347,250. It's the highest level since October 2005.
John Ryding, the chief US economist for Bear Stearns, marked 375,000 as recession territory for the 4-week moving average. Anything above 350,000 usually signals weakness in the labor market.