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The employment picture is looking much brighter




This measure of announced corporate layoff activity hasn't been so low since 2001. There has been nothing short of a stunning decline in layoff activity since early last year, a clear sign that the economy has put the difficulties of the recession in the past. Businesses have done just about all the downsizing they need to, and so now the next shoe to drop must be a substantial pickup in new hiring activity. Judging from the surprisingly strong December ADP announcement (next chart), it has already started.

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