Monex: Groei werkloosheid VS doet herstel sinds financiële crisis teniet

Monex: Groei werkloosheid VS doet herstel sinds financiële crisis teniet

United States Coronacrisis
Ranko Berich_main (1).jpg

Hieronder volgt een commentaar in het Engels van Ranko Berich, Head of Research bij Monex Europe op het vandaag gepubliceerde aantal mensen in de VS dat in de afgelopen week een werkloosheidsuitkering heeft aangevraagd.

"Today’s jobless claims data from the US saw another dramatic rise in the number of unemployed persons claiming insurance benefits. The 5.245m number of claims registered in the week ending April 11th has seen the aggregate number of job losses, if this is a true measure, erase the employment gains made since the global financial crisis. The data followed a 6.62m increase in claims the week prior, pushing the four-week sum to 22m filings compared to the 21.5m jobs added during the economic recovery beginning June 2009.

"The US dollar has gone mildly bid in markets following the release as risk sentiment continues to drive market pricing. However, despite today’s data highlighting a dramatic collapse in the US labour market, with the advanced seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rising to a record high of 8.2% for the week ending April 4th, it isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of the real economy. Below, we highlight some of the reasons for this which include; the loss of output from those leaving the job market altogether therefore not claiming unemployment benefits, system failures in states, backlogs in processing and the impact of the CARES act.

A note on US Jobless claims in general:

"The US Jobless claims figure has been one of the most contentious data points during the coronavirus outbreak. While the data is one of the timeliest metrics to assess the impact lockdown measures are having on the US labour market, in turn allowing markets to gauge the effects on consumption and therefore growth, it is subject to a number of quirks. The quirks make it hard for economists to filter through the noise and truly measure the economic impact of social distancing measures in the US via the labour market, but given the lack of timely data markets will still use this as their best nowcast of the US economy. This means that the initial jobless claims are likely to continue having an elevated market impact while more accurate unemployment data is compiled.

"Last week, the initial jobless claims data release saw the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the week ending April 4th dip trivially to 6,606K from an upwardly revised 6,867K the week prior. The dip in jobless claims was concentrated in Pennsylvania (-143K), Florida (-108K) and Massachusetts (-103K), but recent reports in the Washington Post highlighted that the benefits system in states like Florida has led to the state underreporting the true number of claims. Rebecca Vallas reported that the red tape surrounding the state claims system was deliberately designed by the former Governor Rick Scott to “make it harder for people to get and keep benefits so the unemployment numbers were low”. This is supposedly just the tip of the iceberg. System failures nationally have arguably suppressed the true number of new unemployment claims. Reports of system crashes in New York, Michigan and Nevada are also backed up by reports of increased server capacity nationally and extended call centre hours beginning next week. The influx of claims and the current backlog suggests that the initial claims data will remain elevated for some time to come, as opposed to seeing the data subdue and a corresponding rise in continuing claims. Additionally, the CARES act will now see more claims fall under the official data stemming from unemployment benefits being paid to self-employed and gig economy workers. With the widening criteria of claims, expect the nominal number to remain elevated in the numerous millions for some weeks to follow.

"While the multitude of factors in play makes it harder to assess the true economic damage, further drawbacks are found in the fact that the claims data doesn’t measure the loss of economic activity from those leaving the labour market altogether. In the March household survey, approximately 60% of workers that lost their job were counted as no longer in the labour market because they didn’t want a job or were not looking. Additionally, the structural contraction in the economy is difficult to assess due to the number of temporary claims crowding out the true structural unemployment rate. Markets know the short-term contraction in the economy is set to be sharp but much of this can be recovered once containment measures are relaxed. The concern is what the longer-term impact to the economy will be. To measure that, and in turn measure the effectiveness of the stimulus measures to counteract it, markets will need to see the noise around the labour market data subside. While containment policies are in place, although the data will continue to be marred with noise and only reflect the short-term economic impact, it remains the best and most timely measure of economic activity for now."