Ray of light: Jobless claims show signs of peaking

Are U.S. initial jobless claims peaking -- suggesting the recession is reaching a bottom? They may very well be.

Initial jobless claims fell 14,000 to 631,000, their lowest level in about a month, the U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected this week's initial jobless claims to total 640,000. The four-week moving average decreased 10,750 to 637,250.

Economists view the four -week average as a better indicator of unemployment conditions, as it smooths out anomalies for strikes, holidays or other idiosyncratic events.