A pair of new reports paint an encouraging picture for the still-recovering U.S. job market. According to the Associated Press, the Labor Department said that applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 14,000 last week to the lowest levels in more than a month and a half.
The statistics are good news, especially after applications reached an exceptionally high 478,000 in April. Since then, the number has continued to drop and that, combined with a report from ADP that signaled a 157,000 job boost in the private sector, has analysts optimistic.
The two reports come in advance of statistics expected to be released by the government later this week, which are believed to show that employers added a net of 90,000 jobs throughout June, yet unemployment stayed steady at about 9.1 percent.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the two reports signal a rebound after the economic climate slowed during the spring thanks to a number of different factors, most notably gas prices that rose to over 4 dollars a gallon. ADP's findings in particular were especially positive about the prospects for the rest of the year.
"This month's jobs figures are a significant improvement over May’s, particularly in light of last quarter’s disappointing 1.9 percent GDP growth," said Gary C. Butler, Chief Executive Officer of ADP. "Given such strong employment results despite poor GDP, I am optimistic we will see improving job growth in the second half of the year."
More specifically, ADP found that small businesses were particularly on the rise, with 88,000 new workers in June, up a significant amount from the 27,000 in May.