The U.S. Labor Department is out with new data showing the number of Americans, who applied for unemployment benefits over the past month, dropped to its lowest level since 2007.

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"That's encouraging in terms of job stability at the national level, and the pattern that we see in New Jersey is consistent with an economy and a labor market that is growing at a modest pace," says the Director of Economic Research at CohnReznick, Pat O'Keefe.

He says over the past few weeks we've had "new claims that were below the average in the five years prior to the recession, so that's an indication that the labor market is performing in a mode of modest improvement."

O'Keefe adds we're still down about 10 percent from pre-recession levels, "but when you factor in the economic body blows we've taken - things like Sandy and its impact on employment - it's not surprising that we're still running a little bit above where we were."

He says without question the economy is getting better, but it's not firing on all cylinders quite yet.

"I would characterize it as moderate but sustained growth," says O'Keefe. "It's not as robust as what we would like and what we've experienced in the past, but the trends are all positive."