Lockdown Sees US Job Cuts in April Highest Single Month Ever

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    Helmholtz Watson

    US job cuts soared in April to the…


    Helmholtz Watson

    US initial jobless claims 3169K v 3100K estimate

    initial jobless claims 3169K v 3100K estimate. Prior week revised to 3846K v 3839K previously reported
    initial jobless claims 4 week moving average 4173.5K v 5035K last week

    continuing claims 22647K v 19800K estimate. Prior week revised to 18011K vs 17992K previously reported
    continuing claims 4 week moving average 17097.75K v 13297.5K last week

    The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending April 18
    Vermont (25.2), West Virginia (21.9), Michigan (21.7), Rhode Island (20.4), Nevada (19.9), Connecticut (18.7), Puerto Rico (17.9), Georgia (17.3), New York (17.2), and Washington (17.1).

    The total number of jobless claims since mid March has risen by 33.5 million

    Helmholtz Watson

    Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is out warning about how bad unemployment is

    Kashkari shared on NBC’s Today Show in an interview ahead of Friday’s monthly employment report, which he says won’t give the clearest picture of job losses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    “That bad report tomorrow is actually going to understate how bad the damage has been,” Kashkari explained, adding that the reported unemployment rate could be as high as 17% — a brutal number, no doubt — but he says the true number may be as high as 24%. “It’s devastating.”

    “The Federal Reserve is acting aggressively, we will continue to act aggressively,” he said. The central bank’s balance sheet has ballooned to a record $6.7 trillion as it rolls out an unprecedented amount of stimulus to help limit the harm of business closures and seized up economic activity on financial markets.

    “When are we all going to feel safe to go sit in a crowded movie theater with a couple hundred other strangers around us?” he asked. “Unfortunately, the recovery looks like it is going to be slow.”

    Helmholtz Watson

    Reuters Exclusive: J.C. Penney to file for bankruptcy as soon as next week, sources say

    J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as next week with plans to permanently close about a quarter of its roughly 850 stores, becoming the latest major U.S. retailer to succumb to fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, according to people familiar with the matter.

    A bankruptcy filing would cap a long decline for the iconic 118-year-old department store chain, which has struggled with a nearly $4 billion debt load and competition from e-commerce firms and discount brick-and-mortar retailers even before the pandemic’s onset.

    The Plano, Texas-based company, which employs nearly 85,000 people, is in discussions with creditors for a so-called debtor-in-possession loan to bolster its finances while it navigates bankruptcy proceedings, the sources said. The loan could total between $400 million and $500 million, some of the sources said.

    The timing of a bankruptcy filing could slip depending on how much time it gets from creditors, the sources said. J.C. Penney skipped a $17 million debt payment Thursday and only has five days to make good on it before defaulting. A 30-day grace period on a $12 million payment the company skipped April 15 ends next Friday.

    J.C. Penney has not made a final decision on how to address its strained finances, and is also considering alternatives that include negotiating a deal with creditors outside of bankruptcy court or obtaining additional financing, the sources said. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential deliberations.

    J.C. Penney declined to comment.


    The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) Dropped Further in April Index declines further as job market deteriorates amid COVID-19

    CB Employment Trends Index (Apr)
    43.43 v 60.39 (Previous)

    The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) declined further in April, following a sharp decline in March. The index now stands at 43.43, down from 57.87 (a downward revision) in March. The index is down 60.2 percent from a year ago.

    “The Employment Trends Index plunged in March and April, with all components of the index moving far into negative territory,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute.

    “A decline in jobs of this magnitude is unprecedented. The principal objective of the economy going forward is to accommodate the delicate balance of getting people back to work while minimizing the spread of the virus. Millions of workers in businesses that were shut down will return to work over the coming months as states start to reopen their economies. However, for many companies, massive layoffs will continue in the coming months as they try to adjust to lost revenue with cost cuts. Beginning in May or June, we expect that the number of workers returning to work will be larger than the number being furloughed or laid off. This would mean the unemployment rate will start to decline. At the end of the year, however, the labor market may still be in worse condition than it was at the peak of the Great Recession.”

    April’s decrease was fueled by negative contributions from all eight components. From the largest negative contributor to the smallest, these were: the Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, the Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry, the Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get,” Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Industrial Production, Job Openings, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, and the Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now.

    The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

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