Op-Ed: Signs of a ‘V’-shaped recovery — a welcome bounce back in economy

This article originally appeared on Fox News on July 2, 2020.

The early economic signs indicate that we may already be in a “V”-shaped recovery — or at the very least a strong checkmark-shaped recovery — as we cautiously emerge from the coronavirus shutdown.

As Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Jay Powell admitted earlier this week, we have experienced a welcome “bounce back in economic activity,” and “have done so sooner than expected.” The economic data from the past two months make the point.

The May jobs report gave us the first indication that the post-pandemic rebound would be something special, revealing that employers had created a record-shattering 2.5 million jobs in a single month, beating economists’ expectations for a loss of around 9 million jobs.

Most economists anticipated that the trend would continue, but few foresaw just how stellar the June jobs report turned out to be. Last month, the country gained a mind-boggling 4.8 million new jobs, blowing past consensus expectations of around 3.7 million. As an added bonus, last month’s total was revised upward by nearly 200,000 jobs, bring the two-month gain to 7.5 million jobs.

Even though the labor force participation rate rose sharply, meaning more people began looking for work, the nationwide unemployment rate nonetheless plummeted in June by more than two full percentage points, falling from 13.3 percent to 11.1 percent, also beating economists’ expectations of a 0.8 of a percentage point decrease to 12.5 percent.

Those are some incredible numbers! But what else were we seeing in the economy?

In May, retail sales increased by a record 17.7 percent, soundly beating economists’ expectations of around 8.4 percent. This increase in retail sales — following three months of declines — bodes well for a return to positive economic growth. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of our economic output, and retail sales account for about a quarter of consumer spending.

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