The recent surge in COVID-19 cases indicates that elected officials re-opened the economy too soon, that too many Americans are flaunting social distancing guidelines, and that the virus is likely to be around longer than we’d hoped. On July 14, the U.S. recorded nearly 59,000 new cases, up from 22,000 cases on June 14. Texas logged 10,745 cases that day, Houston nearly 2,600 cases. That’s a five fold increase over the month for the state and the metro area.
The popular website Yelp.com publishes crowd-sourced reviews on local restaurants, retailers, entertainment venues and personal services. Yelp reports that 177,000 U.S. business on its site were closed between March 1 and April 19. As of June 15, only 37,000 had reopened. In Houston, the pandemic forced the closure of 3,518 Yelp businesses, of which only 578 had re-opened by mid-June.
The current recession can no longer be seen as a brief shutdown in which Congress passes enough safety nets and stimulus packages to bridge the gap. The number of active business owners in the U.S. plummeted by 3.3 million or 22 percent in March and April.
Though the nation has recouped some of the jobs lost in March and April, there are still 16.6 million unemployed workers in the U.S.
HOUSTON EMPLOYMENT UPDATE
Metro Houston added 73,800 jobs in May, a record for any month. The jump came as Governor Greg Abbott issued orders reopening the state’s economy early in the month. Despite the surge, local employment remains 276,400 jobs below its February pre-COVID level. The largest job gains occurred in accommodation and food services, retail and health care. Mining and logging (energy), professional, scientific and technical services, other services, and government continued to lose jobs. Only finance and insurance has returned to its pre-COVID employment level.
The closing spot price for West Texas Inter-mediate (WTI), the U.S. benchmark for light, sweet crude, averaged $39.22 per barrel the last week of June ’20, down 32.8 percent from $58.38 for the same period in ’19.
Houston realtors sold 9,238 single-family homes in June ’20, up 15.7 percent from 8,063 in June ’19. The average price for a single-family home sold in June was $319,881, down 0.6 percent from $321,884 a year earlier. The month ended with 11,610 pending sales, a 39.3 percent increase over June ’19.
Baker Hughes reports 258 drilling rigs working in the U.S. during the first week of July ’20. That’s down 700 rigs, or 73.1 percent, from the same week in July ’19.
Houston’s unemployment rate fell from 14.2 in April to 13.9 in May. It had been as low as 3.9 percent in February.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Feb 22, 2020
Minutes from the January 28-29 FOMC meeting indicate the coronavirus will not push the Fed to cut interest rates, and for the most part housing and manufacturing survey data this week supported that view.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jan 04, 2020
Markets were also pressured from the latest ISM manufacturing report, which signaled further deterioration in the sector with the index falling to its lowest level since 2009.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Aug 11, 2021
Despite a few misses on the headline numbers, economic data this week highlighted a theme of demand continuing to outstrip supply and ongoing slack in the labor market.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Apr 04, 2020
Efforts to contain the virus are leading to millions of job losses and it’s likely only a matter of time before a majority of economic data reveal unprecedented declines.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / May 30, 2020
The beginning of this week saw some optimism that the economic downturn could be relatively short-lived, but data through the rest of the week provided grim reminder of the economic damage from COVID-19.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Jun 26, 2021
Okay, so I’ve gotten about half a dozen calls since Wednesday asking if I saw the May CPI numbers that came out this week.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / May 04, 2020
U.S. GDP declined at an annualized rate of 4.8% in the first quarter, only a hint of what is to come in the second quarter.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Feb 10, 2021
Nonfarm employment rebounded in January, with employers adding 49,000 jobs following the prior month\'s 227,000-job drop.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Feb 09, 2021
Economic data came in largely as expected this week and suggest continued economic recovery.
Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report / Aug 15, 2020
The consumer has been a bright spot in the recovery so far, but with jobless benefits in flux and no clear path for the long-awaited stimulus bill, the support here could fade.