April 10, 2020

6.6M unemployment claims filed in first week of April; consumer sentiment plummets

CapitolThe Labor Department's initial unemployment claims estimate for the first week of April increased to 6.6 million. Combined with the prior two weeks, total unemployment claims during that span represent over 10 percent of the labor force, though NAFCU Chief Economist and Vice President of Research Curt Long said this probably does not capture the true total of unemployed workers. Rather, the unemployment rate "now likely exceeds 15 percent," Long said.

In addition, the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, conducted March 25-April 7, found the biggest one-month drop in the consumer sentiment index in history from 89 to 71. This represents a month-over-month change of 20.3 percent and takes the consumer sentiment index down to levels last seen in 2011.

“Consumers need to be prepared for a longer and deeper recession rather than the now discredited message that pent-up demand will spark a quick, robust, and sustained economic recovery,” concluded Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.

For more on NAFCU's award-winning research team, check out the association's Macro Data Flash reports for insights into interest rates, auto sales, the home market and the overall economy amidst the coronavirus pandemic.