The Labor Department reported Thursday that jobless claims fell by 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000, the third straight week of drops and the best showing since March 2008, shortly after the recession started but before the labor market began shedding jobs at a rapid rate.

President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have made economy and job growth central themes in their campaigns for the White House…

Although the large drop is a positive for the ailing labor market, it was likely caused by temporary factors — fewer temporary closures of auto plants.