Despite two consecutive drops in the Bitcoin mining difficulty this month, the network is set to see out 2014 and enter 2015 with renewed growth in the hash rate.
The last difficulty adjustment for this year occurred yesterday and at that time saw an increase in the hash rate to 290,919,288 GH/s from December 16th's 282,449,013 GH/s. The difficulty has now increased to an all time high of 40,640,955,017 which is up from the December low of 39,457,671,307. This increase in hashing power and difficulty more than covers the reduction we saw earlier in the month.
Prior to December's reduction in difficulty, the last time the Bitcoin network saw such a change was back in January of 2013. Oddly enough, the last time two consecutive drops in the difficulty occurred was back in December of 2012.