How Convenient: Jobless Claims Lowest Since February 2008 [Updated]

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The polls may have gotten scary as hell for President Obama, but a different set of numbers could be a good omen for him. A week after the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent, the weekly jobless claims — the number of people seeking unemployment assistance — has dropped to 339,000, its lowest level since February 2008, although the legitimacy of the report has yet to be confirmed by Jack Welch's gut instincts. Assuming the data isn't part of a vast bureaucratic conspiracy, it raises the question: Can the economy save Obama from himself?

Update: Apparently the numbers aren't quite what they seem. CNBC has the somewhat complicated explanation, but here's the gist: 

[One] state did report weekly jobless claims but did not process and report its quarterly claims number (when many people have to reapply for benefits for technical reasons as opposed to being newly laid off). As a result, there wasn't the expected spike in claims that normally happens at the start of the quarter.