• The bulk of states reported fewer applications for unemployment benefits last week, with particularly steep declines occurring in Georgia, New Jersey and Kentucky. Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 11:54

    Workers filed another 2.4 million unemployment claims last week, a slight drop-off in the wave of historically high weekly filings since the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic began.

    Weekly claims continued to log in at high levels, though they are down since an initial surge in layoffs drove claims to a peak of nearly 7 million at the end of March, according to Thursday’s Labor Department report.

    Meanwhile,...

  • America’s reopening is in some ways turning out to be more difficult and divisive than the shutdown. Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 10:54

    Tricia McIntyre, a 48-year-old emergency-room nurse from southern Wisconsin, donned a mask last Sunday, sat down behind a plexiglass shield at a nail salon, and got her first manicure in two months.

    “Finally!” Ms. McIntyre said, a few days after Wisconsin’s top court overturned the state’s coronavirus shutdown order. “I think people are tired of staying home and they’ll do whatever they can to get back out.”

    Across...

  • Business activity in Europe and Japan continued but at a slower rate, still suggesting that any recovery will be exceedingly slow Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 09:54

    U.S. and global business activity and labor markets suffered a little less in May than in prior months, offering signs that damage to the global economy from the coronavirus pandemic is easing but will require an extended time to overcome.

    Surveys of purchasing managers showed private-sector activity in the U.S., Europe and Japan fell for the third straight month in May, despite the tentative reopening of many economies around the world.

    ...
  • The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index rose 4.4% in the year that ended in March, up from a 4.2% annual rate the prior month. March marked the highest annual growth rate since December 2018. Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 08:49

    Home-price growth accelerated in March, even as home sales dropped after the coronavirus pandemic shut down economic activity in some regions.

    The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which measures average home prices in major metropolitan areas across the nation, rose 4.4% in the year that ended in March, up from a 4.2% annual rate the prior month. March marked the highest annual growth rate since December 2018.

    ...
  • Manufacturing output, the biggest component of industrial production, decreased 13.7% in April from the prior month. Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 07:49

    U.S. industrial production posted the steepest one-month fall on record in April as efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic closed factories, sapped demand and froze global supply chains.

    Industrial production, a measure of factory, mining and utility output, decreased a seasonally adjusted 11.2% in April from the prior month, the Federal Reserve said Friday. It was the steepest drop in records dating back 101 years. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected an 11.1% drop.

    ...
  • The U.S. economy’s recovery is likely to drag on through the end of next year, with the labor market experiencing its sharpest deterioration since the 1930s, the Congressional Budget Office says Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 06:49

    WASHINGTON—The Congressional Budget Office said the U.S. economy’s recovery from the downturn related to coronavirus responses will drag on through the end of next year, as investment collapses and the labor market experiences its sharpest deterioration since the 1930s.

    Gross domestic product will likely be 5.6% smaller in the fourth quarter of 2020 than a year earlier, the CBO said Tuesday, despite an expected pickup in economic activity in the coming months. Though the CBO raised its projection for GDP growth in the fourth...

  • Federal agencies say they will set aside $10 billion of the remaining funds in a small-business coronavirus relief loan program for community lenders that target underserved borrowers, following public backlash aimed at the program Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 05:49

    WASHINGTON—The House approved a bipartisan bill that would loosen requirements on hundreds of billions of dollars in small-business loans, responding to concerns from employers struggling to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The House bill reduces the level of Paycheck Protection Program funds that must be used for payroll to 60% from 75%. The bill also gives borrowers up to 24 weeks to use the funds, up from the eight set in the initial bill passed in March, and extends the deadline to rehire workers to Dec. 31.

    ...
  • New orders for manufactured goods plummeted in March, Commerce Department data show. Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 04:49

    U.S. factory orders posted a record drop in March as efforts to contain the new coronavirus disrupted supply chains and quashed demand, the Commerce Department said Monday.

    New orders for manufactured goods fell 10.3% from February to a seasonally adjusted $445.8 billion in March, the biggest month-to-month fall in records dating to 1992.

    Orders...

  • A Census Bureau report shows nearly half of U.S. households have lost income since the coronavirus pandemic prompted economic lockdowns Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 03:49

    Nearly half of adults live in households that have lost income in the two months since the coronavirus pandemic led to a nationwide economic shutdown and more than a third expect to lose income over the next four weeks, the Census Bureau said in a new report.

    The results reported Wednesday come from the initial release of a new weekly survey sponsored by several federal statistical agencies intended to show the changes in the well-being of American households over time. It includes questions about health, employment, income,...

  • The general U.S. fertility rate fell 2% in 2019 to 58.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, its lowest level since the government began tracking the figure in 1909. Link https://t.co/B2NumMzJjO
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 02:44

    American women had babies at record-low rates last year and pushed U.S. births down to their smallest total in 35 years, according to federal figures released Wednesday.

    About 3.75 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2019, down 1% from the prior year, provisional figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics showed. The general fertility rate fell 2% to 58.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, its lowest level since the government began tracking the figure in 1909.

    ...
  • Payrolls dropped by an unprecedented 20.5 million in April. By comparison, the steepest monthly loss on record back to 1939 was 1.96 million jobs in 1945, at the end of World War II. Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 01:44

    WASHINGTON—The April unemployment rate surged to a record 14.7% and payrolls dropped by a historic 20.5 million workers as the coronavirus pandemic hit the economy, wiping out a decade of job gains in a single month.

    Employment fell sharply in all broad business sectors last month and across all groups of workers, with particularly large increases in unemployment among women, high-school dropouts and Hispanics.

    The...

  • U.S. industrial production posted the steepest one-month fall on record in April as efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic closed factories and froze global supply chains. Link
    Real Time Economics Sat 30 May 2020 00:44

    U.S. industrial production posted the steepest one-month fall on record in April as efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic closed factories, sapped demand and froze global supply chains.

    Industrial production, a measure of factory, mining and utility output, decreased a seasonally adjusted 11.2% in April from the prior month, the Federal Reserve said Friday. It was the steepest drop in records dating back 101 years. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected an 11.1% drop.

    ...
  • Existing-home sales dropped 17.8% in April, the biggest monthly decline since July 2010, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 23:39

    Sales of previously owned homes plunged in April, as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country’s economic activity and sellers and buyers stayed on the sidelines.

    Existing-home sales dropped 17.8% in April, the biggest monthly decline since July 2010, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. Previously owned homes make up most of the housing market.

    Economists...

  • At least dozens of property companies are said to have received in aggregate tens of millions of dollars or more in bailout funds due to a legal loophole. Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 22:39

    Real-estate companies are cashing in on the government’s emergency-spending program, despite rules meant to bar landlords and other property owners from the funds.

    Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program to help smaller companies keep workers on payroll during the coronavirus pandemic, but not so-called passive businesses that collect rent and businesses that profit primarily off of price speculation. The Small Business Administration specifically excluded companies that primarily develop or lease real estate.

    ...
  • “You feel this overwhelming pressure to not be wrong.” A South Carolina restaurant owner reopens, anxious to protect his business, customers and staff. Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 21:39

    COLUMBIA, S.C.—At the 4:45 p.m. huddle before Saluda’s reopened its dining room, owner Steve Cook thanked his staff for their patience and explained how the restaurant had changed from the one they left 55 days before.

    Diners would be seated at every other table. Sanitized silverware wrapped in napkins replaced elaborate place settings, and bottles of hand sanitizer formed the centerpiece. Vases of roses marked the tables kept vacant. By the hostess stand, a Champagne bucket held cleaning solution.

    ...
  • Transcript: Fed Chief Jerome Powell Q&A With Alan Blinder Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 20:34

    Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell discussed the central bank’s independence, powers and actions in response to the economic shocks caused by the coronavirus pandemic during an online conversation Friday with Princeton University professor and former Fed Vice Chairman Alan S. Blinder. Here is a transcript, lightly edited for clarity and length.

    MR. BLINDER: Let me briefly introduce a man who needs no introduction, but we’re happy to welcome here today. Jay Powell graduated from Princeton, which is relevant today, 45 years...

  • ‘A full recovery of the economy will really depend on people being confident that it’s safe to go out,’ Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 20:04

    Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he worries the economy could face a significantly longer and weaker recovery if the U.S. faced a second outbreak of the new coronavirus in the months ahead.

    “A full recovery of the economy will really depend on people being confident that it’s safe to go out,” he said Friday in an online discussion hosted by Princeton University. “A second wave would really undermine public confidence.”

    ...
  • The tax implications of working from a different state during the pandemic Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 19:29

    In March, millions of people had their workplaces scrambled by the coronavirus pandemic and hastily decamped to work remotely. Even with some offices reopening, many hope to prolong the arrangement now that summer is here.

    But if you’re doing your job in a state different from your usual one, beware: You may need to file returns and perhaps pay taxes there. So check on your 2020 state taxes now to avoid a bad surprise next year.

    ...
  • Heard on the Street: Beware the losers from Europe’s green reconstruction Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 18:24

    A key problem for Europe is the economic divide between “core” rich countries and the “periphery.” Paradoxically, ambitious plans for the region’s post-Covid reconstruction could make the periphery even more peripheral.

    This week, the European Union proposed a new €1.85 trillion ($2 trillion) plan including a much-trumpeted €750 billion “recovery” fund. The latter pot has two distinct ambitions: providing economic life support for Southern Europe, which has suffered more from the coronavirus; and an industrial transformation...

  • Video: How the Government Creates Stimulus Money Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 17:24
    Both Congress and the Federal Reserve are pumping trillions of dollars into the economy to fight the economic damage caused by the coronavirus. WSJ explains where all that stimulus money is coming from. Photo Illustration: Carlos Waters / WSJ
  • RT @TokyoWoods: Personal income increased 10.5% in April, reflecting a sharp rise in government payments through federal rescue programs. S…
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 16:54
  • RT @karadapena: Are you working remotely in another state due to the pandemic? Some states will tax you after a single day of work. See…
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 16:54
  • Investors are pouring money into gold as a hedge against inflation on concerns that stimulus measures will lead to a surge in prices Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 16:34

    Hedge funds are betting that inflation will pick up as central banks and governments world-wide print and spend vast amounts of money to support jobs and businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

    That bet goes against the weight of recent history.

    Gold, a classic inflation hedge, has surged 14% this year as investors fret that central banks...

  • Cleveland Fed leader Loretta Mester said a “second phase” of Fed action will help economy back to former strength Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 15:54

    Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said Friday the recovery from the coronavirus crisis is likely to be slow, even if economic data that comes out later this year point to a dramatic rebound.

    “When you have so many people out of work, it’s hard to imagine that we’d see a quick V-shape recovery. I think it’s going to be slow,” Ms. Mester said on Bloomberg Television.

    Ms....

  • Canadian economic output plunged by a near record 8.2% annualized rate in the first quarter Link
    Real Time Economics Fri 29 May 2020 15:23

    OTTAWA—Canadian economic output plunged by a near record in the first quarter, as household spending collapsed on coronavirus-induced shutdowns. Exports also fell markedly.

    Canada’s gross domestic product, or the broadest measure of goods and services produced in an economy, fell at an 8.2% annualized rate in the first quarter, to 2.10 trillion Canadian dollars ($1.53 trillion), Statistics Canada said Friday. Markets were looking for an annualized drop of 9%, according to economists at Bank of Nova Scotia.

    ...
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