High-frequency data that track indicators such as restaurant bookings and job postings have been flat or trended downward in some economies. The highly transmissible virus is expected to remain a formidable and elusive adversary until a first generation of effective vaccines can be rolled out to the public, which many experts expect in 2021.
In the U.S., Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell this week said an “increase in virus cases and the renewed measures to control it are starting to weigh on economic activity,” pointing to signs of lower consumer spending, based on debit- and credit-card use and weakening labor-market indicators in the small-business sector.
On Thursday, the U.S. announced that its economy contracted at a 32.9% pace from April through June, one of the biggest drops on record. As bad as that was, it was already baked into market expectations.
More worrisome to some was that the number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims rose for the second week in a row just as emergency benefits to about 30 million jobless people were set to expire at the end of July. Congress is divided on whether to extend, and by how much, enhanced unemployment benefits and direct payments to Americans.