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US Jobless Claims Lowest Since 2007

U.S. jobless claims have fallen to its lowest rate since the beginning of the economic downturn. The number of people seeking unemployment fell by 15,000 to 320,000 –  the lowest it’s been since 2007. According to usatoday.com:

“[Unemployment] applications, which reflect layoffs, have fallen 14% this year. That’s a sign that companies are cutting fewer workers. But hiring is still sluggish, resulting in only modest net job gains.

“Employers have added an average of 192,000 jobs a month this year. The unemployment rate has declined to 7.4%, a 4½ year low. That’s still well above the 5% to 6% range associated with a normal economy.

“At the depth of the recession in March 2009, applications for unemployment benefits numbered 670,000. They have fallen steadily ever since.”

This is a clear indication that measures the Obama administration have taken are working, which would come as a surprise to his conservative opposition.

The unemployment news isn’t good all around, however. Capital markets declined upon hearing the good news because the Federal Reserve may take this as a sign to scale back their Quantitative Easing programs. As reported by businessweek.com:

“Stocks and government securities tumbled as signs of an improving economy and stabilization in inflation fueled speculation the Federal Reserve will curb bond purchases this year. A slowdown in firings may be a precursor to a pickup in hiring that would bolster household incomes and the spending that accounts for 70 percent of the economy.”

Although this is good news, there’s still work to be done. These numbers often don’t take into account people who are underemployed, meaning people who are working part time jobs, and lower scale jobs than they are qualified to work. So it’s a good start, but we need to keep making progress to grow our middle class.

 

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