with Brent D. Griffiths
The images from Memorial Day weekend tell the story: Americans are venturing back out to parks, beaches and malls as state and local officials across the map ease restrictions.
The tentative thaw is showing up in measures of economic activity — from restaurant reservations to airline ticket purchases — that have been throttled by coronavirus shutdowns. The upticks so far offer little clarity about the speed, scale and durability of a recovery. The course of the disease will determine how the economy bounces back. Indeed, while the national count of new infections is dropping, the disease continues to spread in rural areas. And premature reopening could invite a second wave of outbreaks.
Though polls show a majority of Americans continue to harbor fear of the virus, the turnaround in the data shows many consumers are ready to resume the activity that will help power a comeback.
“The economy is beginning to pick itself up from the floor, though the monthly indicators will be grim for the next few weeks, because of the lags in data collection and publication,” Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson writes in a note. “But the near-real-time numbers are all rising, from their incredibly depressed lows last month. … With more states opening over the past couple weeks, we expect the numbers for the Memorial Day weekend — the start of the summer season — to be considerably better.”
The firm created graphics outlining a handful of categories showing that people are venturing back out to spend. Restaurant reservations are picking up:
Airline travel looks to be recovering sharply:
People are checking back into hotels:
Per the Wall Street Journal, Americans are also looking at real estate again — with showings up 27 percent as of May 23, by one industry measure — and applying for mortgages:
The shipping industry, likewise, is registering a resurgence in activity. “The numbers remain low by historical standards but suggest the carriers have turned a corner,” Harriet Torry and Josh Mitchell write in the Wall Street Journal. “Truckstop.com, which measures demand in trucking’s spot market, says its weekly index has improved for four straight weeks and that available loads were up 27% in the week ended May 18.”
Today marks an important symbolic step for the financial industry, as the New York Stock Exchange reopens its trading floor after a two-month closure, though it won’t look quite the same. “A visitor ban means splashy bell-ringings and celebrations to mark initial public offerings won’t be happening anytime soon,” the WSJ’s Alexander Osipovich writes. “Media organizations that broadcast from the floor, like CNBC and Cheddar, aren’t coming back yet either.” And floor traders must sign liability waivers.
Yet the experience of the meat industry offers a…
Go to the news source: The Finance 202: The economy is tiptoeing back to life as Americans start spendi…