The year 2015 begins with a rosier economic outlook for many Americans, with the unemployment rate shrinking and more jobs being added to small businesses.
As of December 2014, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has dropped to 5.6 percent, the lowest it has been since June 2008, according to the National Employment Monthly Update.
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About 252,000 jobs were created in December, above average for rest of the year, though 2014 still saw a great deal of growth.
Overall last year, the unemployment rate dropped by 1.1 percentage points, and about 1.7 million people became employed.
A similar picture is reflected in the numbers the payroll provider ADP reported in its National Employment Report, which is derived from actual, anonymous payroll data of clients the company serves.
According to ADP 241,000 jobs were added to the private sector, with the greatest increase being seen in small businesses with 1-49 employees.
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In total, small businesses added about 106,000 employees, an encouraging statistic as these businesses make such an important contribution to overall economic growth in the country.
Employment data for January 2015 will be released in early February, but if the previous year is any indication, Americans can look forward to a better economic climate in the coming year.