But inflation, interest-rate and stock-price figures offer no cheer
The news broke like a shaft of sunshine through an otherwise stormy week for the economy. After seeming to hover around 7% for eight months, the nation's unemployment rate in December fell to a seasonally adjusted 6.4%.
That was the lowest level since October 1974. It equaled a goal that the Carter Administration had set, then quietly abandoned, for its first year in office. Indeed, it was a shade lower than the rate of unemployment that many economists had predicted for the close of 1978.