Hey, here's some news to crack a few smiles in the governor's office: the Massachusetts unemployment rate dropped from 9.3% to 8.7% in October -- the first monthly decline in 28 months.
Total net job losses for the month were under 1000. Construction jobs eked positive for the first time since February -- perhaps a sign of federal stimulus money at work.
The overall numbers were helped by the federal government hiring of 1000 Census workers -- but that happened throughout the country, and the national employment rate jumped in October anyway.
So here's the big question: will the combination of positive jobs news, stabilizing home values, and stock-market gains reflected in people's quarterly 401(k) statements put people in a more confident mood as they start their Christmas spending?