Only after reading the doom and gloom does USA Today even bother getting to the good news:
The economy grew at breakneck 8.2% annual rate in the third quarter, best performance in nearly two decades. Economists believe the economy slowed in the current quarter, with estimates ranging from a pace of 4% to slightly above 5% — still a healthy clip.
Jobless claims, meanwhile, have been below the 400,000 level economists see as a divide between improving and deteriorating labor markets for 12 weeks — longest stretch since a run that ended in April 2001.
The closely watched four-week moving average of initial claims fell for a second week, to 361,750 from 362,000 the previous week.
The department said the number of unemployed workers who continued to draw benefits fell 38,000 to 3.27 million the week ended Dec. 13, latest week for which that figure is available. That is the lowest level since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.