6/5: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Global Composite Output Index rebounds nearly 40 percent to 36.3 in May

At 36.3, the May J.P.Morgan Global Composite Output Index posted its second-weakest reading in survey history, albeit up from April’s record low of 26.2. Rates of decline were substantial at both manufacturers and service providers. Although the headline index remains well below its stabilization mark of 50.0, it nonetheless made giant strides towards it. The advances in the Composite Output Index (up 10.1 points), Manufacturing Output Index (rising by 6.7) and Services Business Activity Index (up 11.5) were all the largest month-on-month increases in the respective series histories.



Initial unemployment claims dip to 1.9 million, bringing pandemic-related total to 42.6 million

In the week ending May 30, initial claims were 1,877,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level.  Over the last eleven weeks, 42.6 million people, or 25 percent of the workforce, have filed for benefits. However, total continued claims during the week ending May 23 were 21,487,000, an increase of 649,000 from the previous week’s revised level.



May job cuts fell 41 percent from April, but still up nearly six-fold year-on-year

Job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers totaled 397,016 in May, down 40.8 percent from April but up nearly six-fold year-on-year.   The COVID-19 pandemic caused 209,147 cuts in May, followed by 119,018 job cuts due to market conditions, and 50,172 announced cuts due to demand downturn.  So far this year, 1,414,828 job cuts have been announced, nearly four times higher than the same period of 2019, and the highest January-May total on record.



April trade deficit rose 16.8 percent, but still down 13.4 percent year-to-date

The international goods and services deficit was $49.4 billion in April, up 16.8 percent from March, and due to an increase in the goods deficit of $5.8 billion to $71.8 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $1.3 billion to $22.4 billion. Year?to?date, the goods and services deficit decreased $26.0 billion, or 13.4 percent, from the same period in 2019.



Labor productivity fell 0.9 percent in 1Q20, but up 0.7 percent year-on-year

Labor productivity decreased 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2020, as output decreased 6.5 percent and hours worked decreased 5.6 percent.  From the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020, productivity increased 0.7 percent, reflecting no change in output and a 0.7-percent decrease in hours worked.