Europe has dominated the financial news for weeks, and with good reason: The future of the euro as a currency and the European Union as a viable economic entity hangs on the resolution of EuroZone debt problems. And a shakeup there will affect economies worldwide.
Lost in the euro talk, however, has been evidence that the U.S. economy is starting to show signs of life.
The United States added 80,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent. Also, fewer people made first-time claims for unemployment benefits during October. The Labor Department, which releases the numbers weekly, said on Nov. 10 that weekly applications dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 390,000. It was the sixth drop in seven weeks, and the lowest level in five weeks.
This number is significantly higher than the 375,000 needed to signal real job growth, but most analysts say it's an important step in the right direction.
In a separate report, the Commerce Department said the seasonally adjusted U.S. trade deficit shrank to $43.1 billion in September. That was the narrowest trade gap since December 2010 and was the result of record-high exports and suggests the U.S. economy closed the third quarter a little stronger than many expected.
Finally, Americans are more hopeful about the economic outlook. A November rise in the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer confidence index was the third consecutive monthly gain, and it pushed consumer sentiment to a five-month high.
Source: World Magazine | Warren Cole Smith