Displaying items by tag: economy
The Center for Disease Control made a pretty worrying announcement today. The CDC has previously warned that American could see a big uptick of the COVID-19 virus in the Fall, when temperatures cool down and flu season ramps up. It echoed that more strongly this week, citing evidence that the virus is gaining ground in the southern hemisphere as their winter takes hold. According to Robert Redfield, head of the CDC, “We’ve seen evidence that the concerns it would go south in the southern hemisphere like flu [are coming true], and you’re seeing what’s happening in Brazil now … And then when the southern hemisphere is over I suspect it will reground itself in the north”.
FINSUM: The reality is that a vaccine will not be ready before the next flu season starts, so it is pretty easy to imagine that the virus might see a big second wave in the Fall that leads to another lockdown.
Fed chief Powell made an interesting warning today. Powell said it will probably take a vaccine to get the economy into a full recovery. “For the economy to fully recover, people will have to be fully confident. And that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine … it may take a while . . . it could stretch through the end of next year, we really don’t know”, he said. Despite the hesitancy, the Fed has been very supportive in its statements of the support it will provide, saying the central bank could do a much more to help the recovery if needed.
FINSUM: This statement is really helping markets today, as combined with good news on a promising new treatment and the lack of a second wave forming (yet), things are looking up.
The markets are not reflecting it, but sometimes it feels as though the writing is on the wall. The economy is bound to get worse before it gets better. We have been locked down long enough now that consumer habits are shifting and the spending patterns that prolong recessions are taking hold. Total US credit card debt has fallen 5% in five weeks—the fastest fall since the Great Recession. Auto loans are the same. On the whole, the more data comes out, the worse the picture gets.
FINSUM: Job losses have not yet peaked, so we are not even close to being on the road to recovery. We suspect it is going to take a long time to get back to where we were in February. We expect this will be a very wide U-shaped recovery.
If you have been confused about the exhaustion of the Paycheck Protection Program in the context of hearing so many stories that people have not received money, you are not alone. There has been a huge public outcry about the program. It is not just that so many big companies got the money, it is that so FEW others did. Less than 7% of businesses got approval.
At COVID Loan Tracker, we have been watching actual loan disbursements, not just approvals, by relying on fellow small business owners. The results have been stark. Thus far, only 8.1% of business report receiving any money. 28% say that they have received “approval” but have not gotten money yet. COVID Loan Tracker has had around 20,000 company submissions that track around $7 bn in PPP applications. See full stats here.
Here are the stats as of 6 am this morning (4/21/20):
PPP application approval rate: 28%
Percent of PPP applications actually received money: 8.1%
Median successful PPP application: 120,000
Median employees: 15
Percent of EIDL advance applications received money: 8.0%
Median money received: $5,000
Median employees: 5
COVID Loan Tracker was started by small business owners Duncan and Rita MacDonald-Korth to help their fellow small business owners understand when PPP and EIDL advance money starts flowing. The site works by crowdsourcing knowledge on applications and loan disbursements. Our goal is to help the small business community and empower journalists with the data they need to keep the government accountable.
New data emerging today is for the first time showing the scale of the devastation that has occurred to the US economy. Industrial production fell 5.4% in March, the worst fall since 1946. Headline retails sales fell a whopping 8.7%. Both data points were worse than economists predicted.
FINSUM: What is really worrying here is that large parts of the US were not even shutdown until the very end of March. This means April’s numbers are likely to be a complete washout. Judging by indexes, this scared markets.