5/8: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Initial unemployment claims fall to 3.2 million in weekly report

In the week ending May 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 3,169,000, a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week’s revised level.  Over the last seven weeks, about 33 million workers have filed, suggesting a pandemic-related unemployment rate of 15.5 percent.



April planned job cuts spiked 202 percent to 671,129, but construction mostly unaffected

April job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers spiked to 671,129, the highest single-month total on record since the survey began in 1993, and up 202 percent from March.  So far this year, 1,017,812 job cuts have been announced, 342 percent higher than the 230,433 announced in the first four months of 2019.  Nearly 41 percent of these YTD cuts have been in the entertainment/leisure sector, followed by retail (11 percent) and services (7 percent).  Just 0.56 percent of these cuts have been in construction.



1Q labor productivity declined 2.5 percent, but edged up 0.3 percent year-on-year

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2020, as output decreased 6.2 percent and hours worked decreased 3.8 percent. Over the previous year, productivity increased 0.3 percent, reflecting a 0.1-percent increase in output and a 0.2-percent decrease in hours worked.   Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020, as hourly compensation increased 2.2 percent and productivity decreased 2.5 percent. Unit labor costs increased 1.5 percent over the last four quarters.



Gallup:  59 percent of Americans can adjust to pandemic life as long as is necessary

In the wake of congressional legislation passed to ease the financial burden of COVID-19 and states beginning to loosen restrictions tied to stay-at-home orders, slightly more Americans now (59 percent) than two weeks ago (54 percent) say they can adhere to social distancing requirements and business/school closures “as long as is necessary” before experiencing financial hardship.