There were 388,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 5,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.
The agency also said that the "4-week moving average" of claims — a way of gauging the trend over a slightly longer period of time — was "396,750, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 400,750."
Bloomberg News calls the report "an indication the labor market may be gaining traction."
Also this hour, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report that housing starts dipped 0.3 percent in October from September — but were up 16.5 percent from October 2010's level. At an annual rate of 628,000 homes, the pace was "roughly half the 1.2 million homes that economists say must be built to sustain a healthy housing market," The Associated Press says.