Saturday, July 04, 2020

July 4 COVID-19 Test Results

by Calculated Risk on 7/04/2020 11:53:00 PM

The US is now conducting over 600,000 tests per day, and that might be enough to allow test-and-trace in some areas. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections, so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly.

According to Dr. Jha of Harvard's Global Health Institute, the US might need more than 900,000 tests per day.

There were 644,930 test results reported over the last 24 hours.

There were 52,406 positive tests.

COVID-19 Tests per Day Click on graph for larger image.

This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.

The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 8.1% (red line).

For the status of contact tracing by state, check out testandtrace.com.

Schedule for Week of July 5, 2020

by Calculated Risk on 7/04/2020 09:45:00 AM

This will be a light week for economic data.

The focus will be on Job Openings and Weekly unemployment claims.

----- Monday, July 6th -----

10:00 AM: the ISM non-Manufacturing Index for June.   The consensus is for a reading of 50.0, up from 45.4.

----- Tuesday, July 7th -----

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey10:00 AM ET: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for May from the BLS.

This graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (purple), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

Jobs openings decreased in April to 5.046 million from 6.011 million in March.

The number of job openings (yellow) were down 31% year-over-year, and Quits were down 49% year-over-year.

10:00 AM: Corelogic House Price index for May.

----- Wednesday, July 8th -----

7:00 AM ET: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

3:00 PM: Consumer Credit from the Federal Reserve.

----- Thursday, July 9th -----

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released. The consensus is for a 1.400 million initial claims, down from 1.427 million the previous week.

----- Friday, July 10th -----

8:30 AM: The Producer Price Index for May from the BLS. The consensus is for a 0.4% increase in PPI, and a 0.1% increase in core PPI.

Friday, July 03, 2020

July 3 COVID-19 Test Results, Record Tests, Record Number Positive

by Calculated Risk on 7/03/2020 05:23:00 PM

The US is now conducting over 600,000 tests per day, and that might be enough to allow test-and-trace in some areas. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections, so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly.

According to Dr. Jha of Harvard's Global Health Institute, the US might need more than 900,000 tests per day.

There were 721,054 test results reported over the last 24 hours.

There were 57,562 positive tests. This is a new record.

COVID-19 Tests per Day Click on graph for larger image.

This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.

The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 8.0% (red line).

For the status of contact tracing by state, check out testandtrace.com.

Comments on Weekly Unemployment Claims

by Calculated Risk on 7/03/2020 12:25:00 PM

A few comments:

On a monthly basis, most analysts focus on initial unemployment claims for the BLS reference week of the employment report.  For July, the BLS reference week will be July 12th through the 18th, and initial claims for that week will be released on Thursday, July 23rd.

Note that a few states have not released Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims yet. This includes Georgia, New Hampshire and a few other areas - so the number of PUA claims is too low. However, there may also be processing delays that are impacting the numbers.

Continued claims increased slightly last week to 19,290,000 (SA) from 19,231,000 (SA) the previous week. However, continued claims are down 5.6 million from the peak, suggesting a large number of people have returned to their jobs (as the employment report showed).

The following graph shows regular initial unemployment claims (blue) and PUA claims (red) since early February.

Click on graph for larger image.

This was the 15th consecutive week with extraordinarily high initial claims.

It is possible that we are starting to see some layoffs associated with the end of some early Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) participants.

We should start seeing layoffs associated with the rising COVID cases and hospitalization in some states (like Arizona, Florida and Texas).  With bar and restaurant closings in some areas, we will probably see more initial claims in those states in the coming week, and that will show up in the report the following week.

Note that these states don't have to lockdown to see a decline in economic activity. As Merrill Lynch economists noted last month: "Most of the slowdown occurred due to voluntary social distancing rather than lockdown policies."

Initial unemployment claims, and continued claims (and PUA claims) are important high frequency indicators to follow right now.

Black Knight: Number of Homeowners in COVID-19-Related Forbearance Plans Declined

by Calculated Risk on 7/03/2020 08:50:00 AM

Note: Both Black Knight and the MBA (Mortgage Bankers Association) are putting out weekly estimates of mortgages in forbearance.

From Black Knight: Forbearances Reverse Course, See Largest Weekly Decline Yet

Overall, the number of active forbearance plans is down 104K from last week for the lowest weekly total active forbearances we’ve seen since the first week of May. This latest drop brings us down 183K from the peak on May 22 and brings us back to the trend of improvement we’d seen throughout June.

According to daily mortgage payment tracking data, as of the end of June, roughly a quarter of homeowners in forbearance had remitted their June payment. That’s as compared to 46% in April and approximately 30% in May.

What remains to be seen is what impact the new spikes in COVID-19 around much of the country will have on forbearance requests moving forward. If they lead to another round of shutdowns – or extensions of those already in effect – and put upward pressure on unemployment numbers, we could see yet another reversal of this trend. The same holds true for the looming expiration of expanded unemployment benefits.

Black Knight ForbearanceClick on graph for larger image.

As of June 30, 4.58 million homeowners are in forbearance plans, representing 8.6% of all active mortgages, down from 8.8% last week. Together, they represent just under $1 trillion in unpaid principal ($995B).
emphasis added

Thursday, July 02, 2020

July 2 COVID-19 Test Results

by Calculated Risk on 7/02/2020 05:58:00 PM

The US is now conducting over 600,000 tests per day, and that might be enough to allow test-and-trace in some areas. Based on the experience of other countries, the percent positive needs to be well under 5% to really push down new infections, so the US still needs to increase the number of tests per day significantly.

According to Dr. Jha of Harvard's Global Health Institute, the US might need more than 900,000 tests per day.

There were 634,822 test results reported over the last 24 hours.

There were 52,815 positive tests.  This is the second consecutive day over 50,000.

COVID-19 Tests per Day Click on graph for larger image.

This data is from the COVID Tracking Project.

The percent positive over the last 24 hours was 8.3% (red line).

For the status of contact tracing by state, check out testandtrace.com.

Hotels: Occupancy Rate Declined 38.7% Year-over-year

by Calculated Risk on 7/02/2020 02:32:00 PM

From HotelNewsNow.com: STR: US hotel results for week ending 27 June

U.S. hotel performance data for the week ending 27 June showed another small rise from previous weeks and less severe year-over-year declines, according to STR.

21-27 June 2020 (percentage change from comparable week in 2019):

Occupancy: 46.2% (-38.7%)
• Average daily rate (ADR): US$95.37 (-29.0%)
• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$44.03 (-56.5%)
emphasis added
The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.

Hotel Occupancy RateClick on graph for larger image.

The red line is for 2020, dash light blue is 2019, blue is the median, and black is for 2009 (the worst year probably since the Great Depression for hotels).

Usually hotel occupancy starts to pick up seasonally in early June. So some of the recent pickup might be seasonal (summer travel).   Note that summer occupancy usually peaks at the end of July or in early August.

According to STR, the improvement appears related mostly to leisure travel as opposed to business travel.

Note: Y-axis doesn't start at zero to better show the seasonal change.

Trade Deficit increased to $54.6 Billion in May

by Calculated Risk on 7/02/2020 02:10:00 PM

From the Department of Commerce reported:

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today that the goods and services deficit was $54.6 billion in May, up $4.8 billion from $49.8 billion in April, revised.

May exports were $144.5 billion, $6.6 billion less than April exports. May imports were $199.1 billion, $1.8 billion less than April imports.
emphasis added
U.S. Trade Exports Imports Click on graph for larger image.

Both exports and imports decreased in May.

Exports are down 32% compared to May 2019; imports are down 25% compared to May 2019.

Both imports and exports have decreased sharply due to COVID-19.

The second graph shows the U.S. trade deficit, with and without petroleum.

U.S. Trade Deficit The blue line is the total deficit, and the black line is the petroleum deficit, and the red line is the trade deficit ex-petroleum products.

Note that the U.S. exported a slight net positive petroleum products in recent months.

Oil imports averaged $27.55 per barrel in May, down from $34.72 per barrel in April, and down from $62.60 in May 2019.

The trade deficit with China decreased to $27.0 billion in May, from $30.1 billion in May 2019.

BEA: June Vehicles Sales increased to 13.0 Million SAAR

by Calculated Risk on 7/02/2020 11:59:00 AM

The BEA released their estimate of May vehicle sales this morning. The BEA estimated light vehicle sales of 13.05 million SAAR in June 2020 (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), up 5.7% from the revised May sales rate, and down 24.1% from June 2019.

Vehicle SalesClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows light vehicle sales since 2006 from the BEA (blue) and an estimate for June 2020 (red).

The impact of COVID-19 is significant, and it appears April was the worst month.

The second graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967.

Vehicle SalesNote: dashed line is current estimated sales rate of 13.05 million SAAR.

Sales collapsed in the second half of March, and really declined in April.

However sales rebounded in May, and increased further in June.

Comments on June Employment Report

by Calculated Risk on 7/02/2020 11:09:00 AM

The labor market swings have been huge, and the June employment report was better than expected with 4.8 million jobs added.

Leisure and hospitality led the way with 2.088 million jobs added in June, following 1.403 million jobs added in May. Leisure and hospitality lost 8.318 million jobs in March and April, so about 42% of those jobs were added back in May and June.

However, these are the jobs most susceptible to a surge in COVID infections, and leisure and hospitality will likely be under pressure in July.

Earlier: June Employment Report: 4.8 Million Jobs Added, 11.1% Unemployment Rate

In June, the year-over-year employment change was minus 13 million jobs.

One of the keys to follow will be the number of workers on temporary layoff.   This increased from 801 thousand in February, to 1.848 million in March, and to 18.063 million in April. This decreased  in May to 15.343 million, and decreased further in June to 10.565 million.

Meanwhile permanent job losers increased in June to 2.883 million from 2.295 million in May.

Prime (25 to 54 Years Old) Participation

Employment Population Ratio, 25 to 54Click on graph for larger image.

Since the overall participation rate has declined due to cyclical (recession) and demographic (aging population, younger people staying in school) reasons, here is the employment-population ratio for the key working age group: 25 to 54 years old.

The prime working age will be key in the eventual recovery.

The 25 to 54 participation rate increased in June to 81.5%, and the 25 to 54 employment population ratio increased to 73.5%.

Part Time for Economic Reasons

Part Time WorkersFrom the BLS report:

"The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons declined by 1.6 million to 9.1 million in June but is still more than double its February level. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. This group includes persons who usually work full time and persons who usually work part time."
The number of persons working part time for economic reasons decreased in June to 9.062 million from 10.633 million in May.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that decreased to 18.0% in June. This is down from the record high in April 22.8% (and down from 21.2% in May) for this measure since 1994. The previous peak was 17.2% during the Great Recession.

Unemployed over 26 Weeks

Unemployed Over 26 WeeksThis graph shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

According to the BLS, there are 1.391 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job. This will increase sharply in 3 or 4 months, and will be a key measure to follow during the recovery.

Summary:

The headline monthly jobs number was well above expectations and the previous two months were revised up 90,000 combined.  The headline unemployment rate decreased to 11.1% .

Last month I noted that the "reopenings" would be a June story, and that is what this report suggests.  In addition, companies using PPP had to rehire employees to convert the loans to a grants.  Unfortunately, the surge in virus infections and related closures, will probably negatively impact the July report.  In addition, we will probably start to see more PPP related layoffs.

As a reminder, the course of the economy will be determined by the course of the pandemic.