For the fifth consecutive week, a very high number (4.4 millions) of Americans filed for first-time unemployment. Two weeks before, initial jobless claims had jumped to 6.6 millions, and one week before, the number was at 5.2 millions. Since the middle of March, a total of around 26 million persons registered for jobless benefits. Although the numbers can be expected to further decrease in the next weeks, they will probably remain high and one can expect that the total since the middle of March will probably exceed 30 millions by the beginning of May.
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, but not completely unrealistic. I expect a subdued recovery. As I mentioned earlier, serious economic forecasts are not possible at the moment. I hope that in early May, I might be in a position to attempt a preliminary assessment of the macroeconomic situation.
Here is the report by the U.S. Department of Labor:
Oil prices remain extremely low. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, even crashed into negative territory on April 20. Strong reductions in demand and limited storage capacities seem to be the main reasons for this pattern. At the moment, there is much reason to believe that oil demand will only recover somewhat and remain low this year.