The nation's unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.7 percent last month as job growth accelerated to 236,000, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.
U.S. economic growth unexpectedly ground to a halt at the end of last year, falling from a healthy 3.1 percent gain in the summer to a 0.1 percent contraction in the final quarter, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
While Washington wrestles with the nation's burgeoning budget deficits, some good news has emerged on the other deficit front: The nation's bloated trade deficit appears to be turning the corner, with at least one prominent economist predicting it will disappear altogether within a decade.
Stocks plummeted Wednesday as the re-election of President Obama reinforced fears that a battle over higher taxes will drive the U.S. economy over the "fiscal cliff."
The U.S. economy is getting a boost from the awakening of long-slumbering sectors such as housing and local government, even as previously strong sectors such as exports and business investments decline.
A spate of data Thursday painted a mixed picture of the U.S. economy: Demand for long-lasting manufactured goods fell and slightly fewer people signed contracts to buy homes. At the same time, the job market looked a little better.
U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs in August, a tepid figure that points to the economy's persistent weakness and slowing prospects for the unemployed.
Wall Street surged Thursday to multiyear highs after the European Central Bank provided more information about an unlimited bond-buying program that could save troubled countries from leaving the eurozone, possibly preventing another global recession from reaching the U.S.
The rating agency Standard & Poor's stunned the world a year ago by stripping the U.S. government of its prized AAA bond rating.