For the most part, all the BC (Before Coronavirus) data for 2020 is gone. Since the economy was still in expansionary mode up until March 12, 2020, we can look back at BC data a reflection point to see how damaging lockdown protocols are to our economy. Now, it’s going to always be tricky with the virus as fears of another shutdown possibility has been put into play until we can get a vaccine. We have to remember, this recession needed to happen to fight the virus, but the economy wasn’t going into recession without it. You don’t have to be an economist to realize the data was still expansionary until lockdown protocols swept the world and America. This means we can’t let our guards down even after lockdown protocols are taken off, and people are starting to do normal things. Our economy collapsed in days not months.
Retail sales (BC Year over Year Growth) even with some events shutting down toward the end of February.
2020 BC Job growth 2 months average 244,500, 120,000 above my highest estimates for 2020. Job openings at 6,900,000 with 24 straight months of more job openings than unemployed workers. The longest job and economic expansion ever recorded in history.
Jobless claims still headed lower even up until March 12, 2020, near all-time lows.
Housing Starts and permits cycle highs in demand with near 40% year over year growth for housing starts.
Regional Manufacturing data positive year over year even with the Boeing issues
ISM Non-manufacturing positive year over year.
Existing home sales cycle highs in demand. New home sales cycle highs in demand.
Purchase application data cycle highs in demand with double-digit growth all the way up until March 18th. We had 8% year over year gains in the median sales price. (This was an unhealthy data line for housing)
We are currently in the AD (After The Disease) stage. The economic damage that shutdown protocols have done is historical in nature as well as the response by the government and the federal reserve. Even with 8.3 trillion-plus of fiscal and monetary disaster relief in play, not every person, state, city, company, but most crucial family is going to make it through this without permanent damage. This is our big fight as a country. All of us together need to think of this as our war against this virus. If when we declare victory, we can’t forget those we lost. We have so much work to do as a country after we have a better handle on this virus.
Recessions come and go, there are certain things to look for when we know we are in the AB stage (America is Back). This won’t be a typical recovery, and we have to always have virus shutdown possibility in play until we are giving the A-ok by health officials.
However, don’t forget, ever, there is light in the future!
We learned in the human physiology class that the photoreceptors of the human eye can detect a single photon of light. While it may not be until nine or more photos hit the retina that we perceived light, we detect before we can perceive. Likewise, if we are diligent, we will be able to identify the return of hope and light coming back into the American economy before it is perceived by all those poor masked souls around us.
Logan Mohtashami is a financial writer and blogger covering the U.S. economy with a specialization in the housing market. Logan Mohtashami is a senior loan officer at AMC Lending Group, which has been providing mortgage services for California residents since 1987. Logan also tracks all economic data daily on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Logan.Mohtashami and is a contributor for HousingWire.