By Vicki Needham - 09/27/12 12:37 PM EDT
Those filing for unemployment benefits fell by 26,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The four-week moving average, which is a better indicator of the job market's trend, also dropped by 4,500 to 374,000. The average had previously risen for six weeks.
Unemployment has remained stuck above 8 percent since early 2009 and is a major hurdle for President Obama's reelection efforts.
The first of the two final monthly jobs reports is due out Oct. 5. The last one hits only days before the election.