• The Right Side of Change

    Ten weeks straight This week’s jobless claims data marks the 10th week in a row of new jobless claims over 2m. The total number of people applying for unemployment at one point or another through this crisis totals about 48m now, which is honestly unfathomable to me. Importantly, the continuing claims number fell 3.86m from the prior week, indicating those people have either returned to their jobs or found other employment. While down sharply, continuing claims are still at an insane 21m. Moral of the story: As the economy is starting to open up across the country, people are returning to jobs, especially in the hospitality and retail sectors, which account…

  • Hello, summer

    Fed Speak This week’s Fed speak actually started on Sunday evening when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell made an appearance on 60 Minutes. The message from Powell during the interview was fairly simple – the Fed hasn’t exhausted its arsenal to help the economy get through this crisis and there’s “no limit” to what the Fed will do to lend money to the markets. While he cautioned about the high levels of debt because of all the fiscal and monetary stimulus being pumped into the economy, he also stressed that stopping spending could risk to long-term damage to the productive capacity of the economy.  Moral of the story: The biggest concern for…

  • Message in a bottle

    Hopefully beginning of the end Another 2.6m people filed for unemployment during the first week in May, bringing the total to 39m. It’s important to note not all of these people are still out of work – some have been called back in essential industries while others are returning to work in states that are starting to reopen.  Moral of the story: The weekly initial jobless claims are coming down from the 6.9m weekly high we saw a few weeks ago, but we’ve seen claims above 2m for 8 weeks straight. This compares to the ~200k range we were seeing prior to COVID-19. It does seem like things are starting to bottom…

  • Twenty. Point. Five. Million.

    The “report from hell”  The dreaded April jobs report came across the wire this week and it’s the worst report seen by industry leaders that have been in this business for decades. The official unemployment number for April came in at 14.7%, which is the highest since the 1930s, and reflects 20.5m lost jobs in one month. Effectively every industry across the board was impacted, even healthcare, which lost 1.5m jobs in the midst of the worst health crisis in US history. If furloughed Americans are included in the number, that unemployment actually jumps to 19.7%. This is the type of stuff they’ll be writing about in the finance and economics…

  • In a NOLA State of Mind

    It just keeps coming  The layoffs kept coming last week with another 3.8m new jobless claims filed, bringing the total jobs lost close to 30m in less than two months. With unemployment close to 20% (y’all that’s 1 in 5 people…wild), it’s no surprise that consumer spending is plummeting. Consumer spending fell by 7.5% in March (April will be much worse), which, in turn, pushed the savings rate to its highest in 39 years, above 13%. Without strong consumer spending (which is about 2/3 of our GDP), first quarter GDP fell 4.8%, which reflects just two weeks of COVID-19 impacts at the end of March.  Moral of the story: A fall in GDP…