On first glance, not so much to shout about there. 550,000 is still very high, and getting back merely to July's low might not seem that big of an achievement. However, what the initial news reports fail to tell us is that July's numbers were skewed by statistical anomalies having to do with seasonally expected layoffs in the auto industry that did not happen -- because they'd already happened much earlier.
This time around, at least so far, there are no hints of anomalies to explain away the drop. So should we take heart in this slow trudge towards labor market stabilization? Probably not too much -- but it still represents incremental improvement.