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No one needs absolute, total, confirmation that the US economy is suffering tremendously. Jennifer Lee from the Bank of Montreal recaps the latest macroeconomic data released by the US administration.

Key quotes

“US housing starts fell more than expected in March, down 22.3% to a one-year low of 1.216 mln units annualized.”

“Building permits, an indicator of future starts, were also down but the decline was not as steep as expected. Permits fell 6.8% to a 9-month low of 1.353 mln units annualized, suggesting that there is activity waiting in the shadows once activity resumes. When that happens is the billion-dollar question.”

“First-time UI claims came in at 5.245 mln in the week of April 11, the fourth consecutive week that it can be measured in the millions. Those who remain on UI (aka continuing claims) totalled an unbelievable 11.976 mln.”

“On an ISM-basis, the Empire State Survey fell to a record low 31.2, while the Philly Fed survey hit 29.7, also the lowest ever.”

“These are terrible numbers. No surprise. But we should look for a sharp reversal as the economy re-opens… gradually.”