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us nfp

NFP Reading Plunges

It was a historic week for US data last week. Friday’s job report reflected record weakness in US labor market conditions.

Earlier in the week, we saw the worst ever jobless claims number, with the number of claimants soaring to 6.5 million from the prior week’s 3.3 million. To put this in perspective, the week prior to the start of the lockdowns in the US, only 221k people claimed unemployment.

On the back of this data, expectations for Friday’s headline NFP data were accordingly adjusted lower. Reuters’ poll of analysts forecasted -100k for March.

However, the data provided a visceral summary of the impact of the coronavirus crisis with a reading of -701k. This reading reflects a worse plunge than that suffered at the peak of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis which saw a reading of -651k.

Unemployment Rate Soars

Alongside the plunge in the NFP reading, the unemployment rate jumped from 3.5% to 4.4%. This was an increase of nearly a full percentage point.

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