Recession Watch

Spending Up, Jobless Claims Down

Something to be thankful for? Last week, the number of Americans filing unemployment claims fell to 466,000 from 501,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department—the lowest level since September 2008—in a sign that layoffs may be slowing as the economy recovers. One economist explained the "falling claims suggest that fewer workers are losing their jobs," possibly because companies have cut back so much that further firings could threaten their capacity to ramp up production as the recession ends. That's not all the good news: Consumer spending rose above the expectation of economists in October. Purchases increased 0.7 percent in October after they decreased by 0.6 percent in September. Incomes also climbed 0.2 percent, according to Commerce Department figures.