There's good news out of the United States Department of Labor this week. Seasonally-adjusted initial unemployment claims dropped to 404,000 last week, a decrease of 37,000 from the previous week's figure of 441,000. It's the biggest drop since last February, and analysts are claiming this signals that the recovery is a reality, albeit a slow one.
As you may recall, the number of initial claims spiked last week, perhaps due to people who came back to the unemployment lines after the holidays.
But bad news often comes mixed with the good. So while the number of people filing initial unemployment claims may be down, the total number of Americans getting unemployment benefits, including extended benefits under emergency government programs, spiked to 9,607,423 million (from a little over 9.2 million) in the first week of January. And these are just the people getting benefits. The unemployed who are not eligible for benefits are not included in these figures, although their numbers are high.