By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

(UPDATE: Hard to get excited about the August employment report. It shows a fewer-than-expected 169,000 new jobs and a lower unemployment rate that is likely due to a drop in workforce participation.

 Also, the Labor Department downwardly revised job creation for the months of June and July, suggesting the summer was a bummer for the job market.

 Let’s hope the jobless claims report from this week foreshadows a better report for September.)

BOSTON (CBS) – I think we can all agree the economic recovery has been painfully slow. Some have called it a “jobless recovery.” But that may not be an accurate label for long.

I say that because the Labor Department reports the number of people signing-up for unemployment benefits for the first time fell in the latest week to the lowest level since 2008 – right around the time the bottom fell out and we entered the Great Recession.

It’s a big milestone and one worth noting. Especially since we’re so quick to deliver bad economic news.

Now don’t get me wrong – the unemployment rate is still stubbornly high at 7.4-percent and the recovery has not come without some bumps. But economists say the rebound in the housing market, combined with some big gains this year on Wall Street, are making people feel more optimistic. And that’s a critical ingredient in any recovery and certainly for any hiring manager.

We get an important update on this Friday when the government releases its August jobs report.

It’s a critical one as we look for evidence continued growth. Economists expect a good but not great report with about 175,000 new jobs for the month.

And there’s something we hope we do not see in the fine print. And that’s any evidence that federal budget cuts – the Sequester – are hurting jobs. We’ve started seeing signs of this in Massachusetts where some funding for science and research is being cut.

Congress has promised to fix this. Someday. But with the discord over Syria creating new divisions in Washington I’m not sure anyone should bet on that.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz


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