GOOD NEWS

New Jobless Claims Dip Again

While Washington battles over the budget, the nation’s fragile economic recovery is getting another boost: New unemployment claims took a bigger-than-expected dip last week, dropping to 382,000 for the week ending April 2—nearing a two-year low. That’s a sign that sustained hiring is taking root. The four-week average for new jobless claims had fallen 7 percent in the last eight weeks. In other positive news, March retail numbers are in, and they’re not bad: Most stores were able to deliver solid numbers, despite rising gas prices and a late Easter that pushed back some seasonal spending.