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6 Charts that Show Labor Market is Improving

It's easy to find the negative data on the current employment situation in America - high unemployment rate, low employment-to-population ratio, high average duration of unemployment, etc. These are the big, definitive, scary numbers that make good headlines for newspapers.

What don't make good headlines are the less perceptible, marginal data points, which are often dismissed as noise or blips. However, today's marginal blip is tomorrow's major trend. Any forecaster worth his salt searches for the small counter-trends that move against the tide. While one data point does not make a trend, a trend starts with one data point. At Plan B Economics we dig deep to find tomorrow's headlines.

When looking at counter-trends, it is important to seek confirmation via other data if one wishes to show that the counter-trend is not simply erroneous information.

Currently, it appears there are counter-trends moving against the big, scary unemployment numbers. While, given the current environment, an improving labor market feels like an impossibility, there are several indicators showing things may be strengthening. Moreover, the fact that several labor market indicators are making small improvements at the same time helps validate the thesis that the labor market is improving.

So carefully pay attention to the changing trends seen in the following 6 charts. Today's blips may be tomorrow's big headlines.

More people are quitting their jobs, indicating improving comfort levels with the jobs market

Layoffs are now close to 2006 lows

The hiring trend is moving in the right direction

Job openings are growing again

Initial claims continue to trend downward

Weekly hours index is rising