Initial jobless claims applications dropped to 391,000 for the week ended February 19, down from 413,000 in the previous week, according to the Labor Department, a sign that the labor market is finally showing some signs of strength,

More importantly, the four-week moving average of claims, which minimizes volatility, fell to 402,000, the lowest such level since mid-2008.

In early 2009, the figure peaked at above 650,000,

It is consistent with our belief that we are going to see a very strong gain in non-farm payrolls. We are putting a number on that around plus 230,000 and it might go higher before we finalize it this week, said David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities International in New York, according to Reuters.