Equities on Wall Street closed mixed last night (4 June 2020) following US jobless data: while the Dow Jones mustered a gain of 11.93 points, or 0.05%, the broader based S&P 500 index fell 0.34%.
While the US initial jobless claims encouragingly continued to slow, coming in at 1.88m during the week ending Saturday 30 May 2020 (the first time it has come in below 2m since 14 March 2020), unfortunately, the more important continuing jobless claims failed to build on last week’s decline – and instead increased by nearly 650,000 to 21.49m from a revised 20.84m.
Although equity markets were disappointed, as continuing claims effectively represent a barometer of progress and rehiring as the US economy reopens, it doesn’t dent our expectations for a V-shaped economic recovery.
We have previously explained there can be some delays in reporting, with for example, California only reporting biweekly – and California’s data showed a 618,432 increase. In fact, continuing claims rose in only 14 US states – and if we compare yesterday’s reading with the reading from two weeks ago, it shows that just over 3.42m laid-off Americans have been rehired, which suggests to us that the US has turned the corner.
Adding to our optimism was news from American Airlines that people are happy to fly and are booking flights – and as a result, the airline plans to fly more than 55% of its domestic flights in July, compared to just 20% in May in order to handle the increased demand. It should also be noted that the transportation and leisure sectors account for a large proportion of the jobs that have been lost in the US.
Additionally, the ECB announced that they were not only expanding their stimulus program by €600bn, but also extending it to June 2021 to help bring the Eurozone economy “significantly closer” to its pre-coronavirus inflation rate.
Our attention today will be on the US employment data, which covers non-farm payrolls, the unemployment rate, average hourly earnings and the participation rate.
Investment Management Team