Retail Sales Up, Jobless Claims Down: Reopening Slowly, Safely
This morning we saw some positive economic news. Here’s what you need to know:
- Weekly jobless claims were lower than expected last week: Totaled 1.314 million, compared with the Dow Jones estimate of 1.39 million.
- The total was a decline of 99,000 from a week ago.
- The peak in March was peak of 6.9 million.
- Continuing claims fell to 18.06 million, a drop of 698,000.
- Retail sales rose 7.5%, including a 20% increase in sales at bars and restaurants.
What does this mean?
- We are making meaningful progress reopening with jobless claims beating expectations. People want to come back to work.
- The retail sales numbers help round out the picture: People want to go out, they want to work, but they also need to feel safe.
- This is the 15th consecutive week that claims totaled above 1 million. This shows how sensitive the labor market is to flare-ups in cases, which we can preempt with the right policies in place.
- There’s an opportunity to provide more support for workplaces to open safely and responsibly. One example: The Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit, being introduced Thursday morning by Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), provides support for main street businesses that need to reconfigure their spaces for social distancing and provide PPE, among other measures.
- Never in our history was there an attempt to voluntarily shutdown and reopen the world’s largest economy. Thanks to the pro-growth policies enacted before the pandemic, the appropriate question we ask is no longer if we can reopen the economy, but rather when should we reopen.
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