An uptick in unemployment benefit applications showed that improvements in jobless numbers are still modest. The range has been hovering between 350,000 to 400,000 claims since fall of 2011.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a leveling off of consumer prices, but a recent rise in gas prices portends a shift in the opposite direction before the next report.
Employers have been adding approximately 200,000 jobs per month for the previous three months, up from 150,000 jobs per month previously.
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The Federal Reserve has indicated that it will continue its stimulus policy, including the purchase of $85 billion in bonds monthly, until the labor market shows substantial improvement. Economists disagree about the effectiveness of that plan.
Some signs of improvement in the economy, however, continue to drive optimism. One of these is an improvement in the housing market and a projected improvement in consumer prices going forward.