Could the economy be looking up? That’s what new numbers suggest.
The Labor Department announced Thursday that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has dropped to the lowest level since early April.
It is the first time that applications have fallen below 400,000 in 16 weeks.
Experts are correlating the drop in applications to temporary layoffs in the auto and other manufacturing industries whose factories were closed in early July to prepare for new models. Factory closures, they suggest, consequently elevated numbers earlier this month.
Unemployment applications aren’t the only positive indicator of the economy. The National Association of Realtors is reporting that more people signed contracts to buy homes in June for the second straight month.
Though unemployment applications have dropped, unfortunately, hiring has slowed in recent months. The economy added only 18,000 net jobs in June, the fewest in nine months, and unemployment hovers at 16.2 for Blacks and rose to 9.2 percent overall, the highest level of the year.
A possible reason why applications dropped, however, could be because Black-owned businesses have multiplied. From 2002 to 2007, the number of Black-owned businesses increased by 60.5 percent to 1.9 million, more than triple the national rate of 18.0 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 Survey of Business Owners.
Some of the top cities in terms of numbers of Black-owned businesses include New York, Chicago, Houston and Detroit.
Instead of waiting for the economy to turn around, it might be time to turn it around ourselves by making our own opportunities.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)