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Job market gains steam, boosts housing and consumer spending

Positive article in the Post today!

"The healthier job market that has lifted the economy in recent months shows no signs of slowing.

Applications for unemployment aid are near a four-year low, raising expectations of further hiring gains. The news Thursday helped catapult the Dow Jones industrial average to its highest close since May 2008.

More jobs and tame inflation are giving consumers more buying power. Their higher spending could further boost growth and lower the unemployment rate for February for a sixth straight month.

Even the troubled housing market is benefiting. Builders expect improved sales in the near future. In response, they're planning to break ground on more homes.

"The housing starts and unemployment claims numbers add to the belief that the economy is shifting gears," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisers. "The decline in the unemployment rate is real, and it should continue.""