A trio employment-related reports released Thursday offered promising data about the country's recovering jobs market--and instilled expectations that Friday's Labor Department report will announce significant employment gains for August.
 
The number of new jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 365,000 for the week of September 1, the Department of Labor said. That's the lowest number of new claims in four weeks, and the sharpest weekly drop in six weeks.
 
Payroll processing company ADP revised its estimate for new private-sector jobs for August to 201,000 from 173,000. That figure was well above Bloomberg economists' highest expectations of 165,000.
 
And while the ADP report suggests that firms are increasing staffing, outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports a drop in layoffs as well. The Challenger report said employers planned to cut 32,239 workers from their payrolls in August--the fewest number of layoffs for U.S. firms since December 2010.