The best news of the week comes today as the Labor Department says that job losses are slowing. Payrolls fell by 247,000 workers, after a 443,000 loss in June. The jobless rate dropped to 9.4% from 9.5% last month. It is the clearest sign yet that the worst recession since the Great Depression is coming to an end if it has not already ended. Stocks jumped on the news taking the S&P 500 to a new high since the March 9th low. The index is now up more than 50% since that watershed day when Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit told employees in an internal memo that the bank was having its best quarter since 2007 as well as comments from regulators suggesting that they might reinstate rules to limit short selling. Nearly $4 trillion in value has been returned to investors during this timeframe.

The economy’s growth is slowing across the board; jobs, consumer spending, retail sales, inflation, and manufacturing. Today’s jobs report shows that employers added 92,000 workers to payrolls in July, which was fewer than expected and fewer than June’s 126,000 gain. The slowdown reflects the first decline since January 2006. The jobless rate rose to 4.6% also for the first time since January 2006. Workers' average hourly earnings rose 6 cents, or 0.3%, in line with forecasts, after a 0.4 % increase in each of the previous two months.