Initial Claims for Unemployment and the Chicago Purchasing Managers index were released today. Unemployment claims dropped to their lowest level since July of 2008—two months before the Lehman collapse. And the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) reached its highest level in over 20 years. Strength in the Chicago PMI was broad based. Employment was up, prices paid were up, as were the important categories of production, new orders, and inventories. Both indicators point to accelerating economic growth.