Cautious good news on the US Job front.

In an optimistic development new claims for unemployment benefits in the United States fell more than expected last week. That is to say that 12,000 fewer people or only 367,000 people filed initial claims for state unemployment benefits. This continues a general slowing of the rate at which people are being laid off and may mean that businesses are finally at a point where they have fewer superfluous staff and a step up in hiring may be around the corner. Economists see the 400,000 mark for initial filing of unemployment benefits as the dividing line between an improving and deteriorating labor market, as the four week moving average has been at 375,750 this is another positive indication.

Job growth has gained momentum and the unemployment rate is at a three year low of 8.5 percent as of December 2011. The number of people receiving benefits under regular state programs is at 3.437 million for the week ending January 21; this is the lowest it has been since September 2008. A separate Labor Department report shows that growth productivity in U.S. nonfarm productivity slowed in the fourth quarter, this is another indicator that current staff is working at maximum productivity and an uptake in demand may lead to hiring.


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