It has been a six-months of U.S. employment numbers unlike any other in history. The number of working Americans reached a record high of 158.8 million (February 2020) before plummeting to 133.4 million only two months later (April 2020), and now the total has rebounded to 147.3 million at the end of August 2020. The number of out-of-work Americans was just 5.8 million only six months ago (February 2020), soared to a shocking 23.1 million by the end of April 2020, and now is at 13.6 million as of last month. The latter number represents a national jobless rate of 8.4% (source: Department of Labor).
Jobless Americans who are renters are being protected from eviction through the end of 2020 as a result of a White House executive order announced on 9 /01 /20. But unless out-of-work Americans secure employment within the next 100 days, the latest moratorium is a short-term fix on a problem impacting an estimated 9 million U.S. renter households nationwide. Frustrated owners of rental housing have their own set of financial responsibilities that have not received similar forgiveness – mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, property taxes – setting the stage for chaos in municipal courts when landlords ultimately move to evict tenants for the non-payment of rent (source: BTN Research).
U.S. oil production fell to 9.7 million barrels a day for the week ending 8/28/20, the first time that our domestic oil production has been below 1 0 million barrels per day since Friday 1 /26/18 or more than 2 ½ years ago (source: Department of Energy).
Notable Numbers for the Week:
- COMPARING THE STARTS – Since hitting a bear market low on 3/23/20, the S&P 500 has gained +54.5% (total return) in 116 trading days through last Friday 9 /04/20. By comparison, the recently ended 11-year bull market for the S&P 500 (lasting from 3/09 /09 to 2/ 19 /20) gained +53.3% (total return) during its first 116 trading days on its way to a +529% (total return) overall bull market gain (source: BTN Research).
- THE MOST PAID – The maximum Social Security benefit paid to a worker retiring at full retirement age in 2020 is $3,011 per month, triple the $975 per month maximum benefit paid 30 years ago (source: Social Security Administration).
- GOING FAST – 68% of the 597,000 existing home sales that took place in the United States in July 2020 were listings that were on the market less than one month (source: National Association of Realtors).
- TWO TRILLION IS GONE – As of 3/31 /20, the size of the U.S. economy was estimated to be $21.54 trillion. As of 6/30/20, the size of the U.S. economy has been estimated to be $19.49 trillion (source: Department of Commerce).
Mark R. Reimet, CFP®
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™