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The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released employment statistics for October 2015.

37 states added jobs and unemployment rates fell in 40. That's good news, right?


Job seekers wait in line for a chance to apply for a job on a massive urban development project in Miami. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

And if you're a glass-half-full type, here's something else you'll be happy to hear:

25 states have reached pre-recession unemployment rates.

It's been eight years since the recession started. 8.7 million jobs were lost before the recovery began. Now, we're halfway back to where we were before the sh*t hit the fan.

Building a new economy means transforming the world.
And that's the work of optimists.

It's a long-overdue benchmark, though perhaps we should have expected that. This was, after all, the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Click on a state to see its unemployment rate as of October 2015:

Click on a state to see the percent change in its unemployment rate since the beginning of the recession:

The Economic Policy Institute calls this a "bittersweet milestone" because it means we still have a ways to go.

It's important to note that what we've been dealing with isn't just a jobs crisis — it's a plague of inequality that needs more fundamental fixes, says William Greider:

"At some point, it will become obvious that our economy will not truly recover until American capitalism is refashioned, stripped of its self-aggrandizing excesses and made to serve the interests of society rather than the other way around."

Still, with some estimates finding that 7 in 10 Americans feel pretty crappy about the economy, reaching this halfway point is a moment worth lifting up.

President Obama shakes hands with former Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor after signing the JOBS Act into law. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images.

68 consecutive months of job growth — the longest streak on record — ain't nothin' to sneeze at. Plus, the Obama administration has managed to crank up the jobs machine exactly where his opponents say they want it: the private sector.

Politically, that's pretty impressive. But it's been argued that the recovery would be stronger if we put at least as much attention on the public sector. According to EPI:

"Our genuinely pressing spending problem is a decline in spending on public investments relative to our needs, which can reduce future economic growth and contribute to growing inequality."

We were in a deep hole, and we're still digging ourselves out. Steadying the labor market is a big part of that.

When we can peek over the edge, perhaps we'll finally be able to reimagine how things work. In the meanwhile, let's remember to celebrate what wins we can. Building a new economy means transforming the world. And that's the work of optimists.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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Small actions lead to big movements.

Acts of kindness—we know they’re important not only for others, but for ourselves. They can contribute to a more positive community and help us feel more connected, happier even. But in our incessantly busy and hectic lives, performing good deeds can feel like an unattainable goal. Or perhaps we equate generosity with monetary contribution, which can feel like an impossible task depending on a person’s financial situation.

Perhaps surprisingly, the main reason people don’t offer more acts of kindness is the fear of being misunderstood. That is, at least, according to The Kindness Test—an online questionnaire about being nice to others that more than 60,000 people from 144 countries completed. It does make sense—having your good intentions be viewed as an awkward source of discomfort is not exactly fun for either party.

However, the results of The Kindness Test also indicated those fears were perhaps unfounded. The most common words people used were "happy," "grateful," "loved," "relieved" and "pleased" to describe their feelings after receiving kindness. Less than 1% of people said they felt embarrassed, according to the BBC.


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She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

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