While the U.S. economy has made significant progress over the past six months in reducing the national unemployment rate to nearly 8 percent, recent fluctuations in jobless rates have left many economists wondering if such steady progress will continue deeper into 2012. Despite the uncertainty, it seems that job growth may be continuing slowly but steadily throughout much of the country.
According to The Associated Press, the number of new weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped by approximately 2,000 based on a report from the Department of Labor on Thursday – hovering at about 370,000 when considering seasonal adjustments. While this is only a modest improvement, these figures are far more promising than April’s sudden jump to nearly 392,000, which was the highest point the official unemployment rate had been in five months.
CBS News reports that since August 2011, the national unemployment rate has dropped from 9.1 to 8.1 percent in April. While much of this progress was due to U.S. employers creating nearly a million new jobs, many out of work Americans have also given up looking for work – removing them from the official jobless numbers.