Imagine you are asked to fill a 12-foot-deep hole. Now imagine that the hole is only 11 feet deep. Feel better?
Of course 11 is better than 12, but the task ahead is immense. That massive hole is the U.S. Jill Schlesinger economy, and right now, although it may be shallower than first feared, it is still gigantic.
Two recent examples underscore the point. The May jobs report was better than expected — yes, the rate was understated, but 2.5 million jobs were added, which is an unambiguous good sign.
Still, employment remains down by nearly 20 million jobs (13%) since February. To put that staggering number in context, the US labor market lost about 9 million jobs during the last recession (between December 2007 and February 2010).
Similarly, retail sales soared by 17.7% in May from April, the largest monthly increase on record. But April and March results were awful and sales were still $42 billion lower than February, before the pandemic caused national lockdowns.
In addition to jobs and retail sales, there is also evidence that the most beaten down sectors like air travel, train traffic and even visits to the dentist, may have bottomed. But the hole is […]
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