Global Growth Grinds (CONT’D FROM PAGE 1 )
which dates to 1994, mirroring dismal releases from the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Banks in the prior week. Existing and new home sales fell 8.5 percent and 15.4 percent in March, respectively. Indeed, the housing mar- ket—a bright spot in the economy just two months ago— has slowed materially due to the COVID-19 outbreak, just like other segments of the economy. The Index of Consumer Sentiment plummeted to the lowest level since December 2011, falling from 89.1 in March to 71.8 in April, according to the University of Michi- gan and Thomson Reuters. New durable goods orders also reflected weakness- es due to COVID-19, but the declines were not as deep as feared, particularly with transportation (and defense) goods excluded. And finally, there were 4,427,000 initial unemployment claims for the week ending April 18, with 26.45 million Americans filing for unemployment insurance in the past five weeks as the economic toll of the COVID-19 crisis takes hold. Meanwhile, there were 15,976,000 continuing unemployment claims for the week ending April 11 in this report, a new all-time high. The latest figure suggests that 11 percent of the workforce received unemployment insur- ance that week, a rate that will continue to increase sub- stantially given the initial claims data.
May 4, 2020
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