Latest Data Suggests Economy on Upswing

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The number of people applying for unemployment benefits has dropped to its lowest level since April of 2008.

The Labor Department says applications fell to a seasonally adjusted 364,000. And the four-week average dropped to just over 380,000, the lowest since June of 2008.

Experts say an average of 375,000 applications signal hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

In addition, the country has seen more than 100,000 new jobs added every month since July, something that hasn't happened since before the start of the recession.

"I think we are going to see continued job growth and reductions in unemployment in the country as a whole," Brookings Institute economist Howard Wial said.

Experts say that although the economy grew slower in the summer than first thought, it's ending the year on a high note.
    
In the last few months:

  • Americans have spent more money.
  • Stocks are the rise.
  • Gas prices are going down. 
  • The job market is improving.

While some believe America is no longer in danger of another recession, others warn recent economic growth isn't sustainable.

They also caution that the economic outlook could become bleak if Congress doesn't get their act together.

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