Pro Perspectives 6/5/20

June 5, 2020

Yesterday, we talked about the consensus expectations for second quarter GDP.  And we discussed the reasons why the very low expectations are set up to be beaten (i.e. positive surprises).   

We had a glimpse of that this morning.  The May jobs data that was reported this morning was a huge positive surprise.  The market was looking for 8 million in new job losses in the month of May.  Instead, the report showed 2.5 million of job gains.

That leaves the unemployment rate at 13.3%.  The expectations were something closer to 20%.  And more broadly, we're heard views that it would reach as high as 30%.  But now, 50 days into the reopening of the U.S. economy (which started in Georgia), the employment picture is going the other way.  Very good news.

This is more early evidence that stimulus measures have indeed kept employees attached to their jobs, even through unemployment, which has allowed for a more seamless reopening of businesses.  Add to that, businesses are finding demand when they open the doors (which accelerates re-hiring). Protecting the balance sheets of consumers, has successfully kept that demand intact. 

With this backdrop, we've talked about the formula for a run in inflation, given the disruption in the supply chain, AND the trillions of dollars of new money that has been placed in the hands of businesses and consumers. This is the double-whammy of both demand and supply driven inflation.  

On the demand side:  We've now seen a record spike in personal income.  And a record level of personal savings.  That's driven, in part, by rising pay for essential workers, and federally subsidized unemployment.  And this has fed into higher wage growth (as you can see in the chart below, from today's report).  

Make no mistake, higher wages will be here to stay, out of necessity, to meet the rising price of assets.  That's what happens when policymakers make the choice to destroy the value of money — which they've done.  

In normal times, this (devaluation of money) would be a recipe for a lower standard of living for the nation.  But in this world, where everyone is in the same boat, and everyone has followed the same script, it may just be a global reset of prices and wages (little pain).