At a Glance
- It’s likely too soon to expect data reflecting the efficacy of stimulus actions, but a few coming reports will gauge the health of the rebound
- Restaurant traffic and crude oil consumption are among the top numbers to watch in the coming weeks
Over the last three months we have seen the quickest pivot from economic prosperity to calamity in our nation’s history. We’ve seen 40 million people lose their jobs. We’ve seen industries like air travel and restaurants almost completely shut down.
In this same time period the Federal Reserve and the federal government have acted quickly to soften the economic blow. The Fed cut short term interest rates to zero and announced unlimited quantitative easing to lower long-term rates. The Federal government issued PPP loans to businesses and cut checks to individuals in an attempt to ease the pain.
The ___ Shaped Recovery
As noble as these actions were, we have yet to see any economic benefit aside from buoying risk asset prices. To be fair, it’s probably be too soon to expect any data reflecting the efficacy of these actions as they have a lag effect. At the onset there were many who believed in the “V” shaped recovery but as time has dragged on that number has dwindled.
My opinion is that our economic recovery will have two stages. The first one being gradual as people weigh their safety concerns against living their normal life. The second stage could be more dramatic and would probably coincide with the announcement of a vaccine or an effective treatment. I will be watching five data points to give me a sense of the recovery’s strength.
Signs of A Rebound
The first three involve the consumer. Restaurant traffic, domestic crude consumption and the June 30 release of consumer confidence give a picture of the mental and fiscal shape of the consumer. On a broader industrial scale I will look to the July 2 reading of durable goods and the July 1 look at ISM manufacturing to gauge healing. I will also be monitoring the words and actions of the Fed and the government as an indication of any change of plans. Up to this point, however, it seems clear that stimulus will be here for the duration and beyond.