A lot of economic news today, much of which was not encouraging. First, the long-awaited first estimate of GDP growth in 2Q 2020 was released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and as anticipated the number was historic, with an annualized decline of 32.9% reported. Second, and for the second consecutive week, the number of initial claims filed for unemployment insurance rose. Third, the Chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, encouraged Congress to act quickly to inject further fiscal stimulus into a weakening economic landscape.
The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by 4.8 million in June and that the unemployment rate fell to 11.1%. This is decidedly good news and suggests that the employment recovery from the precipitous COVID-related drop in March and April continues to reverse course. Combined, 7.5 million jobs were generated in May and June, recouping some of the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April. Said another way, the June level of payrolls was 14.7 million below February’s.
The NIC MAP® Data Service recently released national monthly data through March 2020 for actual rates and leasing velocity. In this release, NIC also provided data on three metropolitan areas for which there is sufficient data to report upon: Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Phoenix.
The Labor Department reported that jobs rose by 2.5 million in May, while the jobless rate fell to 13.3%, a surprising outcome given the severity of pandemic-related lockdowns on the economy and other recent less bullish measures of economic performance. The increase in May followed a loss in jobs of 20.7 million in April, which was the largest decline in records dating back to 1939. Analysts had predicted an increase in the employment rate to 19% and a decline of 7.5 million jobs in payrolls.