Brian Bethune, an economist at Boston College, said that the economy paused in the first half of 2022, but the solid labor market means it didn’t dip into a recession. “We had a very strong recovery and now we’ve got this pause going on which is not uncommon in a business cycle,” he said. “We have a bit of a second wind here because gasoline prices have come down, that’s going to help,” he added. Initial jobless claims , a proxy for layoffs , decreased to a seasonally adjusted 243,000 last week from a revised 245,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The weekly number has held close to 250,000 since early July after rising from a 50-year low in March . The Federal Reserve has been increasing interest rates as it works to curb inflation without severely cutting output. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled […]