Brief Comment on U.S. Jobless Insurance Claims and Trade Deficit

April 2, 2020

New weekly jobless insurance claims, which are a proxy for layoffs, shot up by a much greater-than-forecast 6.648 million workers. This was the second big overshoot in a row, yielding a 2-week total of 9.955 million. The weekly average of new claims in the first two months of 2020 had been 212-3/8K, by comparison.

As a private citizen and during his first three years as the President, Donald Trump had yearned for a massively diminished U.S. trade deficit, and the coronavirus pandemic appears to be granting his wish. According to the advance estimate of the goods and services deficit in February, the imbalance decreased to a 41-month low of $39.932 billion from 45.482 billion in January and $48.613 billion in December. The January-February deficit was 18.7% narrower than a year earlier due to a 3.6% drop in imports juxtaposed against positive 0.3% growth in exports.

U.S. factory orders and the New York regional PMI (NAPM) will be released later today.

copyright 2020, Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission.

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