First-time filings for unemployment insurance totaled 2.44 million last week, about in line with economist estimates. Total filings from the beginning of the pandemic now total 38.6 million. The good news is that that the total has fallen for seven straight weeks from its record peak. We continue to see a decline as the nation reopens but fear of a second wave, uncertainty around testing, a vaccine, and contradictory medical advice still has many on edge. Plus, the level of continuing claims is a clear indication of how unemployment is persisting even as regions around the country are increasingly taking steps to bring their economies back online.
“Construction activities have been one of the first to resume in many states that have begun phased reopenings,” Citi economists wrote. “We would expect that both starts and permits have likely reached a bottom in April.” This is good news as we move into summer. Consumers who are looking for lower interest rate homes are also starting to consider new homes.
A series of warmer months and, hopefully, clearer precautions to minimize future health-related spikes in economic slowdowns; we remain optimistic.