The U.S. Week Ahead (Apr 6-10): Consumers’ Patience Under Close Watch

While several economic updates are set for the week ahead, market participants will likely be focused on the rapidly deteriorating health of the labor market, as well as souring consumer sentiment.

A recent wave of mass closings and newly implemented restrictions in the leisure, hospitality and broader service sectors has spurred droves of workers to the unemployment lines.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) noted that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims in the week ending March 28 nearly doubled from the prior week to almost 6.65m due to impacts from the COVID-19 virus.

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boost in unemployment benefit claims

The past two week’s figures have marked historic highs, far surpassing the previous record of 695k set in October 1982, while the four-week moving average for the series soared 327.25k week-over-week to roughly 2.05m.

The DOL said that nearly every state providing comments cited they continued to identify increases “related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services.” However, a toll has also been taken a long list of other businesses, including health care and social assistance, manufacturing, the retail and wholesale trade and construction.

California (878,727) and New York (366,403) appear among the states suffering the largest inclines in unemployment benefits, with increases of 692,394 and 286,404, respectively. Unsurprisingly, these states, along with New Jersey, are also listed as housing the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the U.S., according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

State Confirmed Deaths
New York 92,743 2,473
New Jersey 25,590 537
California 11,126 246

To date, nearly 1.04m cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in 181 countries and regions, with around 23.6% of that total having hit the U.S., while more than 55k people have suffered fatalities globally.

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