US economy cliff-dives in April

The US Census Bureau reports in dry terms that the US economy dove off a cliff in April.

When reading the numbers, remember that your local government (as well as the State of California) depends in large part on sales tax to keep things running. Also remember that these changes occurred over a very short four- to six-week span, not over six months or a year — and for many, many, many small retailers revenue dropped all the way to zero from about mid-March.

Retail and food services plunged 16.4% from the previous month, 21.6% from April 2019:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $403.9 billion, a decrease of 16.4 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, and 21.6 percent (±0.7 percent) below April2019. Total sales for the February 2020 through April 2020 period were down 7.7 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The February 2020 to March 2020 percent change was revised from down 8.4 percent(±0.4 percent) to down 8.3 percent(±0.3 percent).

Retail trade sales dove 15.1% from the previous month, 17.8% from April 2019:

Retail trade sales were down 15.1 percent (±0.4 percent) from March 2020, and 17.8 percent (±0.7 percent) below last year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores were down 89.3 percent (±1.8 percent) from April 2019, while non-store retailers were up 21.6 percent (±1.4 percent) from last year.

The Federal Reserve reports that industrial production dropped 11.2% in April from the previous month, the largest monthly drop since the Fed began paying attention.

Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employers chopped back on hiring, with job openings falling to 6.2 million in March, a month behind the numbers above. The report for April will be horrifying.

For beautiful graphs of unremitting economic disaster, visit Calculated Risk.

If you can, go out and buy something!