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