Evidence for a sharp, although possibly brief, economic recovery continues to mount. As shown in Figure 1, retail sales rebounded another 7.5% in June and are now 1.1% higher than a year ago. Signs of economic reopening showed up throughout the data released last week.
Stocks continued to climb in the face of an increasing number of new COVID-19 cases and evidence the surge is stifling the economy’s ability to recover. Initial unemployment claims dipped to 1.3 million, but they have remained above 1 million for 16 consecutive weeks.
The S&P 500 wrapped up its best quarter since 1998, gaining 20.5%, amid a strong employment report and continued concerns as the United States and the world posted a record number of coronavirus cases.
The daily total for new virus cases topped 40,000 as a resurgence in the South and Southwest pushed new cases to an all-time-record high. Some states are reporting record hospitalizations and pausing or reversing reopenings. Initial unemployment claims, as shown in Figure 1, remain close to …
Retail sales and food services jumped 17.7% in May, beating estimates of 8% growth. The strong rebound follows sharp declines the previous month created by social distancing. Even with the increase, sales are still 6.1% below where they were one year ago.
The S&P 500 dropped 4.7% last week on concerns the uptick in new coronavirus cases would persist and slow the economic rally. The surprising job growth reported two weeks ago suggested the economy was rallying more quickly than expected and boosted investor optimism. But the recent upti …