Capitol Report: U.S. economy enters 2020 on firmer footing

American workers are enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.The U.S. economy is not doing as well as its surging stock market, but fresh evidence suggests growth stabilized just ahead of the new year. A trio of reports on Thursday showed a robust labor market and hints of a recovery in the depressed manufacturing…

Capitol Report: U.S. economy enters 2020 on firmer footing

American workers are enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.The U.S. economy is not doing as well as its surging stock market, but fresh evidence suggests growth stabilized just ahead of the new year. A trio of reports on Thursday showed a robust labor market and hints of a recovery in the depressed manufacturing sector. Initial jobless claims, a rough measure of how many people lose their jobs each week, fell slightly to 222,000 at the end of 2019. They’ve now returned to near post 2008 recession lows following a spike after the Thanksgiving holiday that turned out to be a false alarm. A separate layoff tracker also lent support to the idea that the labor market has improved. Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a company that helps employees find new jobs, said the number of announced layoffs by U.S.-based companies fell in December to the lowest level in a year and a half. What’s more, the number of announced layoffs in the fourth quarter was the smallest since the fall of 2018 in a reversal of an uptrend that began earlier last year. And only a smattering of the job losses were linked to the U.S.-China trade war and related tariffs. “Firings remain q
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