Daily new COVID-19 cases in the US are clearly falling as the vaccine roll-out takes effect.
But daily deaths are still rising and may take another few weeks to level off.
January payroll figures show the economic recovery has stalled, with total jobs contracting by 6.08% compared to January 2020.
Hours worked are down 4.4% compared to last year.
Average hourly earnings jumped 5.44% for production and non-supervisory workers but these are distorted by strong job losses in the lowest pay grades.
Retail sales (excluding food) have also been artificially boosted by government stimulus which added roughly 20% to disposable income.
Light vehicle sales are similarly boosted.
While housing starts are climbing in response to record low mortgage rates.
Total unemployment claims (state and federal) declined to a still high 17.8 million for the week ended January 16th.
The proposed Biden stimulus will support households and businesses but employment is likely to remain weak until the COVID-19 outbreak is clearly under control.
Economic activity is expected to remain weak in the first half of 2021. A key determinant will be the length of time it takes to bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control. Subsequent recovery is likely to need strong fiscal support, with federal debt expected to grow faster than GDP in 2021. This will require continued Treasury purchases by the Fed and commercial banks, with interest rates remaining low throughout 2021.