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And Now, Some Good Economic News

Job seekers and employers come together at the Inland Empire Career Fair in February in Ontario, California.

Job seekers and employers meet in Ontario, Calif.; file photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Over the last four years, scanning the nation’s business headlines has become something best done with a pack of Tums at the ready. From housing to unemployment, looking at the numbers has become a test of intestinal fortitude.

But the last few days have brought some bright spots. The stock market has risen recently as Europe looks to be getting its financial house in order. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported October economic growth had exceeded expectations. And around the country, Patchwork Nation finds that since June unemployment is falling in all of the 12 types of county that we examine.

In September, some of our county types saw the lowest unemployment rate they have seen for months (county unemployment figures are collected differently than national numbers and lag by a month). And even some of the hardest-hit locales saw a much better fall than they would have imagined this summer.

The news couldn’t have come at a better time for retailers as the holiday shopping season nears. Plus, the economy looks to be the issue on everyone’s mind in the coming election year.

Is that picture of the United States ancient history to most Americans or a memory of how things should be?

For the moment though, these numbers represent something important that economic watchers haven’t had in a while: hope. And whether you are a sitting president or simply someone collecting unemployment insurance waiting for things to get better, it is a welcome sight.

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