Most Manufacturers Have Kept Their Doors Open
- According to the National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for the second quarter, the vast majority of manufacturers, nearly 99 percent, have kept their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that herculean feat, manufacturers are less optimistic about the future. Only about 34 percent said they are optimistic compared to more than three-quarters of manufacturers who said so in the first quarter. The survey also indicated manufacturers found innovative solutions to keep businesses running, including 22 percent of respondents who said they changed their operations in order to produce personal protective equipment and 67 percent who reengineered processes to reflect COVID-19 safety protocols.
- The U.S. economy contracted at a five percent annualized rate in the first quarter, a steeper number than was initially estimated. The revised number is the largest decline since the last recession. Most economists expect a deeper decline in the second quarter.
- Canada’s economy also had its worst quarterly showing since 2009 in the first quarter of 2020. Gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 8.2 percent. According to The Canadian Press, Statistics Canada said household spending was down 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2020, the steepest quarterly drop ever recorded. The Press also said indications are that data for March and April could end up as the largest consecutive monthly declines on record.
- In the United States, initial unemployment insurance applications reached 2.1 million last week, a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week’s total. More than 21 million Americans continued to receive unemployment benefits.
- According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, consumer spending in April fell 13.6 percent from March, the largest decline since 1959. Personal incomes rose 10.5 percent due to the federal stimulus payments and unemployment benefits.