Here are three different looks at the job growth since the recession’s end, the 4-week average of initial claims, the ADP report and BLS Payroll.

FRED Graph

The Payroll measure is sans non-postal federal employees, the easiest way I could find to take out census.

In any case the story here is broadly consistent of ever new highs. The new claims data is also break strong new weekly lows (highs in this inverted chart), suggesting that our best guess at payrolls is a step up in the next report.

This period is crucial for the US economy because we have not yet hit “the kick.” That is, growth is not feeding on itself. This is – by my lights – all very basic depreciation of capital effects.

Once, the economy emerges from the Liquidity Trap then growth can self-feed. More jobs means more cars and homes, means more jobs . . .

At that point I think our major question mark is how oil affects the recovery. Its actually not easy to intuit. I will try to post on this later today but we can easily imagine a world of $5 gasoline in the not too distant future. The question is whether that brings growth to a halt, is only a speed-bump or indeed accelerates the rate of growth.

I could tell any of these stories and I am not sure at this moment how to sort through the fundamentals and pick which one is more likely.