This is the web version of the WSJ’s newsletter on the economy. You can sign up for daily delivery here.
It’s jobs day! We’ll have a special edition of the newsletter after the U.S. employment report is out. In the meantime, Jeff Sparshott here with the latest on the economy.
Millions of Jobs Added, Millions More to Go
The U.S. economy likely regained millions of lost jobs in June, though a rise in coronavirus infections in several states could hamper the labor market’s recovery. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect employers added 2.9 million jobs last month, following May’s payroll gain of 2.5 million. Such an increase, if reflected in Thursday’s jobs report, would show Americans are slowly getting back to work. But it would still leave the U.S. with nearly 17 million fewer jobs than in February, the month before the pandemic struck the U.S. economy, Sarah Chaney reports.
Hiring last month was supported by business reopenings and government aid. But some states are reversing or pausing reopening plans as coronavirus infections surge in the South and West. Thursday’s jobs report, which is based on survey data largely collected in mid-June, won’t reflect these recent government-mandated business closures and related layoffs.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
U.S. nonfarm payrolls are expected to increase by 2.9 million in June and the unemployment rate is expected to fall to 12.4% from 13.3% a month earlier. (8:30 a.m. ET)
U.S. jobless claims for the week ended June 27 are expected to fall to 1.38 million from 1.48 million a week earlier. (8:30 a.m. ET)
The U.S. trade deficit for May is expected to widen to $53 billion from $49.41 billion a month earlier. (8:30 a.m. ET)
U.S. factory orders for May are expected to rise 8.7% from a month earlier. (10 a.m. ET)
The Baker Hughes rig count is out at 1 p.m. ET.
The Congressional Budget Office releases its updated economic outlook for the next decade at 2 p.m. ET.
China’s Caixin services index is out at 9:45 p.m. ET.
After recovering rapidly from mid-April through mid-June the economy has shown signs of sputtering in the past two weeks. The flattening may reflect a pullback by consumers in states where cases of Covid-19 have shot up, the exhaustion of pent-up demand driven by stimulus checks, or simply a pause after the first wave of low-risk workplaces were allowed to reopen. Regardless of the reason, multiple data sources show that after an initial V-shaped plunge and partial rebound, activity has since flat-lined, resembling the reverse image of the square-root symbol (√), Greg Ip writes.
Recoveries seldom proceed in a straight line and it’s too soon to write this one off. Its path this time has been especially unpredictable because it depends on the pandemic and the social-distancing measures undertaken to halt its spread.
What’s Shaping the Recovery?
New coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose above 50,000, a single-day record, as some states and businesses reversed course on reopenings and hospitals were hit by a surge of patients.
Officials in New York, Michigan and California enacted new measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, zeroing in on bars and restaurants as a possible source of transmission. New York delayed plans to allow indoor dining, and California and Michigan took steps to close bars and restaurants after a spike in cases.
McDonald’s is pausing the reopening of dine-in service in the U.S. as coronavirus cases continue to spread across states. The burger giant said it would wait three weeks before any new U.S. restaurants add dine-in service to its drive-through, takeout and delivery operations, Heather Haddon reports.
Apple said it would temporarily close dozens of its stores as the pandemic worsened in certain regions. As of Wednesday, Apple said it had closed 16 locations, with 30 more to close by today.
Macy’s said nearly all its stores have reopened after a monthslong closure, though the retailer warned it could take other measures as states tally more infections. “Most of our stores are currently on reduced hours and will remain flexible to meet demand,” Chief Executive Jeff Gennette said.
At Least Factories Are Looking Better
Factory activity around the world showed further signs of recovery in June as governments eased restrictions designed to contain the coronavirus, according to surveys of purchasing managers. Manufacturing sectors returned to growth in a number of countries, including France, the U.K., Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and Ireland, according to IHS Markit. While businesses reported that the lifting of restrictions had made it possible to ease up on layoffs and get supplies or raw materials, they said weak demand from overseas was holding them back, Eun-Young Jeong and Paul Hannon report.
The Institute for Supply Management’s survey of U.S. factories posted its biggest monthly increase since 1980 and new orders logged their strongest monthly gain since records began in January 1948. “The growth cycle has returned after three straight months of Covid-19 disruptions,” ISM’s Timothy Fiore said.
Video: In the current slowdown, purchasing managers indexes may not be telling the full story. WSJ explains.
Quote of the Day
“If we can get the public-health issue under control either through a really robust mitigation strategy or a vaccine, then we can re-engage in economic activity really quickly.” —Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly
WHAT ELSE WE’RE READING
The share of women among Britain’s wealthiest is growing. “We show that the rise of women in the top 1% is primarily accounted for by their greater increases (relative to men) in the number of years spent in full-time education,” Richard Burkhauser, Nicolas Hérault, Stephen Jenkins and Roger Wilkins write in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.
SIGN UP FOR OUR CALENDAR
Real Time Economics has launched a downloadable calendar with concise previews forecasts and analysis of major U.S. data releases. To add to your calendar please click here.