Unemployment Benefits: Applications Fall To 346,000

Unemployment benefit applications have fallen to 346,000 according to latest data. The Department of Labor has stated that they received 9,000 fewer initial jobless claims for the week ending June 22. This could be good news for the struggling economy.

Unemployment claims have steadily declined since April, indicating that the labor market and economy are gaining strength after a crippling recession.

As reported by NBC News, 175,000 new jobs were created in the last month. This is a continuing trend, as an average of 172,000 new jobs were created each month for the last year.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has stated that if the trend continues, the central bank bond program could end by this time next year.

Consumer spending has also seen a slight rebound. Spending increased an estimated 0.2 percent in May, and the numbers are expected to hold or increase for the month of June. Seventy percent of US economic activities are tied to consumer spending.

At this time last year, 3,309,000 US residents were actively receiving unemployment benefits. The latest figures have declined to 2,965,000. The decrease in ongoing claims may seem insignificant. However, it is good news for the economy.

As reported by Reuters, the housing market has also continued to make strides. The National Association of Realtors refers to their Pending Home Sales Index, stating that purchase contracts have increased nearly seven percent. The slow but steady increase in numbers have hit their highest level since the end of 2006.

Housing prices have continued to increase slightly, indicating that consumers are willing and capable of making larger purchases.

A slight rise in inflation also indicates that the US is in recovery. The Fed would like to see inflation rates increase two percent. However, the indicated increase of 1 percent is encouraging.

As the demand for unemployment benefits decrease, it appears that the US economy continues to recover from the devastating recession.

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