Jobless claims drop. We’re hardly out of the woods, but good news is still good news.

Positive surprises like this are always good. Nobody should make the assumption that the economy is going to be bouncing back quickly or in a big way, but this is still a step in the right direction.

The number of Americans filing first- time claims for unemployment insurance payments unexpectedly declined last week, indicating the labor market recovery is gaining traction. Applications for jobless benefits decreased 15,000 in the week ended Feb. 4 to 358,000, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 370,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The four-week moving average, a less-volatile measure of claims, declined to 366,250, the lowest since April 26, 2008. The easing of dismissals is moving in tandem with a drop in the unemployment rate, which fell in January to a three-year low of 8.3 percent. Job creation also accelerated last month, showing the world’s largest economy is making headway in restoring the 8.3 million jobs lost during the 2007-2009 recession.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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