The Weekly Breadline, a brief series of indicators that together paint the most recent picture of US economic activity, is produced to help our clients plan during this extremely confusing and unpredictable period due to COVID-19.
The monthly Jobs Report for December was released last week, and the statistics were disturbing. According to the BLS, nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000 in December, with the hospitality industry losing nearly half a million jobs.
Initial claims for unemployment fell from 806,000 to 787,000 in the last week of 2020. The 4-week moving average continued to rise, up from 819,000 to 836,500 in the final week of 2020. Total claims fell back under 20 million to 19.564 million.
We continue to see a decrease in continuing unemployment claims which fell by another 8,89 percent in the latest week reported. However, this is mainly due to the fact that many people have reached their maximum benefit under state unemployment plans. There are still over 21.5 million people claiming some sort of unemployment benefit.
Consumer loans are up from last week at $1,524 billion dollars – driven primarily by an increase in credit card spending from $749.5 billion to $757.5 billion. This could be an indication of loosening of pandemic related restrictions in retail and hospitality sectors, giving people a chance at experiencing pre-pandemic activities. It will be interesting […]
Federal Reserve banks across the country compile regular indices of manufacturing and business activity. The most recent Empire State Manufacturing Index, compiled by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, shows how the continued government-imposed shutdowns have continued to harm the state’s economy. Rather than continuing to signal recovery, by falling only slightly from 17 to […]
The Institute for Supply Management® Purchasing Managers Index came in at 55.4 percent in September, down 0.6 percentage point from the prior month. While the figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the fifth month in a row, the index for New Orders Index was down by 7.4 percentage points to 60.2 percent.
The Conference Board’s Index of Consumer Confidence slayed expectations for September, rising to above neutral (101.8) for the first time since the COVID-19 closures began. Economists had been expecting an increase from 86.3 to 89.2
Sales of new homes have been on a tear since the COVID-19 outbreaks, crushing expectations in August with an increase of 4.8 percent from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1,011,000 units. Nearly all sales (86.2 percent) have been in the southern and western portions of the country.
Retail sales for August came in below economists’ expectations, increasing 0.6 percent from the prior month, and up just 2.6 percent above August 2019.
After falling for 7 straight weeks, crude oil inventories shot up by 1.73 million barrels, while prices fell by 2.5 percent. falling for 7 straight weeks, crude oil inventories shot up by 1.73 million barrels, while prices fell by 2.5 percent.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity increased by 10.1 percent in the second quarter, the fastest quarterly increase since 1971.
New home sales are at the highest levels in over a year, with new home sales up from 776,000 in June to 901,000 in July 2020 and up from 635,000 in the previous year.
Weekly initial unemployment claims surged back over the 1 million mark, rising by 135,000 to 1,106,000.
Early in the crisis, US spot prices actually exceeded the world market. WTI spot is now back to $41.94 with Brent at $44.19 per barrel.
New claims for unemployment insurance fell for the first time in a couple weeks.
Last week, the Dow Jones Transportation Index reached its highest point since February increasing from 9,730.12 to 9,994.81.
Consumer Debt increased for the fourth week in a row, rising from $1,520.76 billion to $1,521.49 billion.
Reaching its highest point in over a year, Spot copper prices climbed last week to $2.935/lb from $2.860/lb.
Interest rates on 10-year Treasury Bonds fell last week from 0.69 to 0.62.
For the first time in months Consumer Debt rose last week from $1,511.71 billion to $1,517.13.
The number of new unemployment claims this week was its lowest since the pandemic started, however since most states are opening up their economies and businesses to marginally function again, these new unemployment claims are less likely to be the temporary layoffs that occurred in April and May and may be more permanent. The coming […]
After rising 900 points three weeks ago then dropping 800 points two weeks ago, the Dow Jones Transportation Average Index fell ever so slightly last week by 4 points. The transportation sector was one of the hardest hit by the government-imposed shutdown in response to COVID-19, so investors may be expecting a stronger recovery than […]
After increasing for 4 weeks, interest rates came crashing back down, with the Ten-Year Treasury Rate falling by 16 basis points (20 percent) last week.
For the first time since the government-imposed shutdowns began, the 4-week moving average of the number of people receiving unemployment insurance fell.
WTI Spot prices seem to be rising this month just as fast as they fell in April. This week’s spot price is almost 900 percent what it was 5 weeks ago, meaning oil prices may be the most V shaped recovery the US will see.
As the black swan of COVID-19 continues to circle around us, the oil price swan appears to be flying away. World oil prices (Brent) are now up by 134 percent from their lows last month. This is more a reflection of reduction in production rather than increases in demand.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average fell 6.9% last week as people continue to abstain from traveling and commuting to work. It is down 30% since mid-February, compared to just 15% for the S&P 500.
The WTI Spot price returned to double digits last week as it rose to $15.71 per barrel. While still abysmally low, the price is finally increasing after weeks of falling. Given the uncertainty of the pandemic as well as OPEC activities, the price will likely continue to be volatile in the near future.
The calm in financial markets reversed last week, with the financial stress index up by over 50 percent. Many large retail firms have already declared bankruptcy, and earnings expectations are down. Even at the current depressed levels, PE ratios for equities are at or above recent highs.
Growth in the number of unemployed seems to have peaked; however, over a million new claims will continue to be filed for at least the next few weeks, leading to unemployment levels that have never been experienced.