The Labor Department provided a sign that the job market may be creeping out of its dreadful depths. For the fourth consecutive week, the rolling four-week average of people applying for unemployment benefits declined. The 403,000 applicants in the span ending last week were down from 409,250 in the frame ending the week before.
Unless lawmakers somehow maintain the funding of welfare programs at current levels, the nation’s poor could suffer a devastating loss of income by the end of the year. According to an estimate by Moody’s Analytics, $37 billion in extended benefits are set to expire.