Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the lowest level since April 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
New claims have fallen sharply in recent months, boosting expectations the end of a long cycle of heavy layoffs will lead to more hiring.
"You put this number with the other job numbers we have seen and they show the labor market continues to grow," said Stan Shipley, an economist at ISI International Strategy and Investment in New York.
Mitt Romney in particular pinned his electoral hopes to blaming President Obama for a floundering economy, and with every tick of gradual improvement those hopes get dimmer and dimmer. Tomorrow the March unemployment numbers come out, and most analysts expect it to hold steady at 8.3 percent. But unlike austerity-crazy Europe, there's little question that the US economy has turned around.