In addition to the unemployment situation, other parts of the economy are also showing signs of strength. Manufacturing activity in the Midwest stayed generally steady in December after rising sharply in November

Fewer Americans are filing new claims for jobless benefits than at any time since the end of the recession, the latest signal that the U.S. economy is ending a year of uncertainty on a positive note. The unemployment data, along with other positive figures from the housing and manufacturing sectors, suggest that the economic recovery is once again gaining momentum after nearly stalling out earlier this year. Fears of a return to recession crested over the summer but ebbed in recent months, as statistics have consistently shown the economy keeps growing, albeit slowly. “We continue to hear people say that the U.S. recovery is fragile, and that’s the wrong word,” said Michael Gapen, an economist with Barclays Capital. “It’s durable. It’s just not robust. It’s a moderate expansion.”
By Ben Casselman, Dec. 30, 2011 WSJ

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12/30/11 wsj