Claims fall sharply
Initial unemployment claims were much better than expected last week, falling by 111,000 to a three-month low 730,000. The caution here is that this has been an extremely volatile and revision-prone series of late, but these numbers ring true against a backdrop of a falling COVID infection rate, loosening government restrictions, and improvements in other high-frequency labor market metrics. Online job postings, for example, have recently soared, rising by more than 30 percent since the end of 2020, while the number of respondents to the Census Bureau's household survey expecting a loss of employment income has plunged by close to 25 percent over roughly the same time frame. The soft patch in the both the labor market and the economy at large looks very much to be at an end.