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Friday, January 7, 2011

More Good News on the Economy?

There's more evidence that the U.S. economy is finally starting to generate good news on the job front. Two reports from Wednesday are part of the evidence. One was a monthly report on private-sector jobs by the ADP National Employment Report, which said the economy added 297,000 new private positions in November. (See the MarketWatch story on ADP jobs report). The second came from jobs consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas that showed that job cuts nationally in 2010 fell to their lowest level since 1997. (See the related MarketWatch story). And then today we learned that the economy added 103,000 jobs in December and that the unemployment rate dropped to 9.4%, its lowest rate in a year and a half. (See the related MarketWatch story).

This isn't all good news. The number of additional jobs added in December is actually lower than predicted and hoped for, and the drop in the unemployment rate is due in part because of a drop in the number of people in the labor force (i.e., the number of people actually looking for employment), which suggests that the current recovery will be a slow one (see the related New York Times story). Nevertheless, it does appear that things are (slowly) looking up on the economic front. Whether the unemployment rate will drop (and the economy will expand) quickly enough in order to save President Obama job is unclear at this point, however.

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