4/07: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Employment Trends Index plummets nearly 45 percent in March

The Employment Trends Index plummeted 44.73 percent in March, almost entirely due to the historically large increase in initial claims for unemployment.  However, the most likely scenario is that within a couple of months, most of the orders to shut down non-essential businesses and stay at home will be lifted. Nevertheless, the total number of workers is likely to remain well below pre-COVID-19 levels for the remainder of the year, and the unemployment rate will remain in double digits after peaking at 15 percent in May.



Employment fell by 701,000 in March, but survey only captured part of coronavirus impact

Although employment fell by 701,000 in March, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent, that increase only captures part of the fallout from the coronavirus. Not surprisingly, employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 459,000, mainly in food services and drinking places. Notable declines also occurred in health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.



March service sector index declined 4.8 points to 52.5, but still in growth mode

A key index measuring the service sector registered 52.5 percent in March, 4.8 percentage points lower than the February reading of 57.3 percent, but still over the 50-percent level which is the split between growth and decline. Still, the sub-sector for employment fell 8.6 points to 47.0 as businesses laid off or furloughed employees.



Gallup:  29 percent of Americans report job impacts from coronavirus

Nearly 30 percent of employed Americans now say that their employer has cut jobs, reduced hours or frozen hiring as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, marking an 18-percentage-point increase for this question since mid-March. Part-time workers are more likely than those employed full time to report these negative effects on their workplace.