Weekly unemployment claims fellto 348,000, the second lowest level since 2008. Moreover claims levels consistently below 350 would indicate a much stronger labor market, and below 325 a genuinely healthy labor market.
Week-to-week the numbers have been up and down but in the 2012, the trend has been in the right direction.
Taken together with stronger retail sales, ex autos, in January, continued progress in manufacturing output, and stronger housing starts, things appear to be getting getter—as I wrote in my note the beginning of the week.
Don’t break out the champagne yet, but put a few bottles on ice. It may be a very bright spring.
Peter Morici is a professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.