While last week's unemployment news was, let's say, less awesome than we had all hoped, some bright spots did emerge. Among them were figures on state-by-state initial unemployment claims for late December. The picture was slightly cloudy—Pennsylvania saw 9, 653 new filers, due largely to construction and transportation sector layoffs—but there were finally encouraging signs. The much-battered Golden State, California, for example, had 23,160 fewer people filing for unemployment that week than it did the one prior. Part of the dip was because of a shorter workweek, but there were also considerably less layoffs in fields such as construction and the service industry. True, this happy trend might not last, but for a labor market that's been desperate for good news, this seems like the right moment to savor some.
Infographic: Rob Vargas