Could things be continuing to look up? The number of people filing unemployment benefit applications fell last week to 366,000, the fewest since May of 2008. It's a sign that layoffs are falling sharply, but millions are still out of work or have given up looking. The unemployment rate is now at 8.6 percent, while the rate was at 5.4 percent the last time the weekly rate was this low. If it continues to stay low, it would be a sign that unemployment is lowering steadily and hiring is picking up enough to help the economy.