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August 2014 Economic Dashboard

The major economic issue of this recovery, which began in the spring of 2009, has been the extraordinarily weak labor markets. The recession was called “The Great Recession” for good reason, and the pace of new job creation has lagged previous recoveries for most of the past five years. But employment data of late is pointing to a brighter future for jobs, as follows:

The number of people unemployed compared to the number of job openings has fallen to pre-2007 levels, indicating a tighter job market.
Hourly wages are consistently moving higher.
New job openings in August totaled 4.7 million versus 2.0 million in 2009, the bottom of the recession.
Both large and small companies are hiring at the same pace, indicating broader job growth.
Weekly jobless claims have fallen to 2006 levels, when the economy was still in expansion mode.

More and more data are indicating the economy is healing and the labor market should continue its steady improvement. It won’t be a straight line higher, overall confidence remains fragile and many have dropped out of the labor force. But, labor market trends are more positive than meets the eye and the pressure on the Federal Reserve to begin normalizing interest rate policy in the next year will continue to build.

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