In the days before GPS was commercially available, I decided to hike Mount Jackson in New Hampshire. The guidebook said Tisdale Spring was close to the summit, so when I passed a small spring after a couple hours, I thought the hard part was almost over. After a while of heightened expectation, however, I passed another spring — and that process repeated itself several times before I reached the real Tisdale Spring and thereafter the summit.

The U.S. employment report released Friday, initially heralded as the end of the COVID-19 challenge, seems much more likely to be the economic equivalent of that first, misleading spring on Mount Jackson.

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