An Unprecedented Drop in Retail Sales and Manufacturing

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

It is hard to believe but April retail sales were even worse than our already below consensus forecast for April. Retail sales dropped off a cliff last month, plunging 16.4% after dropping 8.3% in March. The March decline broke records last month and April’s sales declines were nearly twice as bad for retailers.

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A Decade of Labor Market Progress Lost

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

The COVID-19 pandemic has swiftly ended U.S. labor market milestones painstakingly achieved over the past ten years.

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Still in Freefall and Looking For a Way Out

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

We are still in the freefall stage of the economic shock brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely remain in this stage at least through the second quarter.

Against this backdrop U.S. equity markets have been downright ebullient over the last month, looking forward to business reopenings and celebrating the flattening of the curve of new virus cases.

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Whither Oil Prices and Inflation

Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

At the start of the year expectations were for flat, but stable oil prices in 2020. But, the reality has been decidedly different with spot West Texas Intermediate oil prices plunging from $61.46 at the start of the year to just $16.50 on April 23, a decline of over 70.0%. WTI oil prices are now at their lowest level since 1999.

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