by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The coronavirus pandemic is showing signs of stabilization even as economic indicators are just beginning to reveal the magnitude of its damage to commerce.
Total global coronavirus cases have surpassed 2,020,000, but the rate of increase in cases has started to stabilize, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Daily growth is slowing down, and the number of new cases daily has declined considerably over the past week. Italy and Spain have counted fewer new cases each day since last week, and daily growth rates in the United States have hovered around 28,000 since Saturday.
Though the outbreak may be close to leveling off, the economy will continue to suffer for months to come. Wednesday saw the release of the first batch of economic indicators to register the full blow of the pandemic shutdowns.
Industrial production and factory output fell 5.4% in March, the Federal Reserve reported, the largest decline since 1946. Retail sales saw the sharpest decline since data started being collected in 1992, erasing four years of growth, according to the Department of Commerce.
“No one is shopping at the mall, and no one is working on the factory floor, and the magnitude of these March declines in production and retail sales tells you the market’s optimism that the worst was over for the economy was misplaced,” commented MUFG chief financial economist Chris Rupkey. …
… The economy has been in free fall since March, and a record number of people have applied for unemployment benefits.
The openings will “be safe, they’ll be strong, but we want to get our country back,” Trump said from the Rose Garden Wednesday. “We want to get our country back. And we’re going to do it, and we’re going to do it soon.”
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