The Department of Labor's latest weekly initial jobless claims report came in at 302,000.

Expectations were for claims to total 300,000, up from last week's 284,000 which was the best reading since February 2006. 

Last week's number was revised lower, to 279,000 from 284,000.

The four-week moving average for initial jobless claims also fell to 297,250, down 3,500 from the previous week's average. This is the lowest level for the four-week average since April 15, 2006.

Continuing jobless claims came in at 2,539,000, up from last week's revised 2,508,000. 

The four-week average for continuing claims was 2,535,250, the lowest level for this average since October 13, 2007. 

This chart from Bloomberg's Michael McDonough shows initial jobless claims.

And ahead of tomorrow's July jobs report, this chart from McDonough shows the relationship between initial jobless claims and nonfarm payrolls.

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