Good News for the Economy as 2014 Begins

Unemployment, manufacturing and construction figures all point to economic growth

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Daniel Acker / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Economy watchers had reasons to be cheerful Thursday morning as several economic reports pointed to stronger growth in 2014.

The Labor Department announced that the seasonally adjusted number of “initial jobless claims,” or new workers who have filed for unemployment insurance benefits, fell in the week ending Dec. 21 to 339,000 from the previous week’s revised estimate of 341,000.

Other data like the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly survey of the American manufacturing industry were also bullish for the labor market, with manufacturers indicating economic growth expanded in December. The overall index registered at 57 percent, the second highest reading for the year after November’s index of 57.3 percent. Any reading above 50 indicates an expanding manufacturing sector.

Finally, the Census Department reported this morning that construction spending during November 2013 was estimated at an annual rate of $934.4 billion on a seasonally adjusted rate, 1 percent higher than October’s reading, and 5.9 percent higher than last year.