Though the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits increased last week, broader trends point to an increase in hiring that could gain steam in 2012. The four-week average for unemployment claims is at the lowest level since June 2008. "Despite the rise in the weekly claims data, the longer-term trend ... suggests that the recovery in the labor market is maintaining its momentum," said Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays Capital.

Related Summaries