For the fourth consecutive week, a very high number (5.2 millions) of Americans filed for first-time unemployment. The week before, even 6.6 million persons registered for jobless benefits. Although the numbers can be expected to further decrease in the next weeks, they will remain high. A range of other data this week showed how deep the recession is. Industrial production and retail sales dropped in March and will further decrease in April. Also the so-called Beige Book published by the Federal Reserve System showed a sharp decline in economic activity.
A so-called V-shaped recovery (so high economic growth after some of the measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus are lifted) is increasingly unlikely. As I mentioned earlier, serious economic forecasts are not possible at the moment. I hope that in early May, we might be in a position to attempt an assessment of the macroeconomic situation.