Standards and expectations have been squashed since covid began spreading. Business implications range from record breaking unemployment rates, savings rates, debt rates, hiring rates, and more. I’ve been coming across new graphs weekly since Feb / March and wanted to showcase a few which buck the norm. Some of these will change quickly once the economy opens back up, and others will have lasting implication for a few years depending on (1) how long covid continues to affect us and (2) what the governments do to support their economies.
Historical chart and data for the united states national unemployment rate back to 1948. The below graph compares the level and annual rate of change. The current level of the U.S. national unemployment rate as of June 2020 is 14.80. The grey bars are former recessions.
Jobless insurance claims
Last week’s claims totaled 1.877 million in a sign that the dip is tapering off. For the first time since March 14th, jobless claims came in under 2 million. Initial claims since early March top 42 million.
Debt exceeding economic output
Debt across the board is at some of the highest levels ever. Below is against the rate of debt as a percentage of our GDP. We have not been at these levels since WWII.
Corporate debt is at its highest levels ever. The virus only compounded the severity here by substantially reducing the worlds economic output. It’s important to note that corporate debt is traded on the open market with bonds making up a majority of the market. And Fitch is forecasting a doubling in defaults in 2020 on US leveraged loans.
Sovereign debt levels
I enjoy this infographic. But what is important is that government debt was high already before the virus began to spread. The global economy is expected to shrink 3% this year, which will eventually lead to less tax revenues to be collected (regardless of stimulus programs). That will affect every government moving forward, but there are differing opinions on how much is too much. Credit ratings come into play here where they’ll eventually assess the country’s willingness and capacity to repay their obligations.
Companies large and small have cut back heavily. Usually when times get difficult, marketing followed by HR is let go, then other non-essential roles. Without getting into the types of roles that have been cut or hampered, below are two examples of the dips large incumbents are choosing to execute: both Apple and Google. Additionally, in startup-land, over 495 startups have laid off over 63,000 employees since March 11th.
The personal savings rate has skyrocketed. This is because individuals have less opportunities to spend their money and in all reality, spending their money on only the essentials. The below graph shows a savings rate of 33%, which is the highest it has ever been (with the graph going back 50 years). These types of movements will have lasting impacts moving forward and it is somewhat exciting given new business models or investment products are likely to come from this high number.
Moving from personal savings above, below is monthly spend. This is not surprising given the current circumstances we’re under. Yet there’s a convergence here with personal savings being the highest ever, and our spending dropping drastically. Over the next few months we’re likely to see new trends emerging as the PPP checks will run out and unemployment will still remain high.
Senate member trades (Burr here)
This and the last graph are two I personally found interesting. Below is from Sen. Richard Burr, who from what some believe used insider information to sell off just under $2m in positions a week before our market collapsed. Since then the FBI has seized some belongings of his and are conducting an ongoing investigation. To make matters worse for him, he was (was) the Intelligence Committee chair. This would have given him unparalleled access into what the IC community was seeing. Lastly, it’s important to note he wasn’t the only Senator who has come under fire: Sen. Kelly Loeffler sold off $4m in stocks that later dropped significantly.
Divorce rates and margarine consumption
You get the drift here.