The Morning View: May 8, 2020

BY: MARSHALL BARTLETT
Senior Vice President / Portfolio Manager

Announced this morning, the economy lost 20,500,000 jobs in April, a bit better than the 22 million losses expected, but it is still the largest drop in the post WWII period.  All major industry sectors showed losses, while Leisure and Hospitality was especially weak.  The Unemployment Rate jumped to 14.7%, from 4.4% in the previous month.  Average Hourly Earnings increased 4.7% in April and has grown 7.9% on an annual basis, both notably higher than expected and likely reflecting the nature and amount of the jobs lost.  Interestingly, Average Weekly Hours Worked was flat at 34.2, much higher than the 33.5 expected. Overall, an historic number of job losses in April, taking away nearly all of the jobs created during the most recent expansion.  As the re-opening process slowly proceeds across the country, it is unclear exactly how many of these jobs will return as individuals cope with how to return to normal.  It will take time and progress on various treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19 should help some as we work through the months ahead.  In all, bond yields ticked higher following the report and equity futures are higher heading into the market open.

This material is intended to be for informational purposes only and is intended for current or prospective clients of Argent Trust Company. This information is obtained from sources believed to be reliable, and its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Information does not constitute a recommendation of any investment strategy, is not intended as investment advice and does not take into account all the circumstances of each investor. Forward-looking assumptions are Argent Trust Company’s current estimates or expectations of future events or future results based on proprietary research and should not be construed as an estimate or promise of results that a portfolio may achieve. Actual results could differ materially from the results indicated by this information. Investments can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.