The pace of initial unemployment claims in Oregon has fallen for a second consecutive week although it remains at levels that exceed the worst of the last last recession:
The decline in the pace of claims suggests that we are moving through the first round of layoffs associated with the initial shutdown. Although secondary and tertiary impacts will be smaller in magnitude, I expect claims to remain at elevated levels until we can begin to reopen the economy.
Building permits remained solid in March even as shutdowns began:
The April numbers will reveal the impact of the weaker economy while the May numbers will give a greater indication of the degree of resiliency of the housing market in this environment.
The timing of any recovery remains uncertain and largely dependent on the course of the Covid-19 infection. While some activity will bounce back quickly, overall I anticipate a slow recovery as not all social-distancing restrictions will be lifted and consumers will venture out only cautiously. A resumption of “normal” activity will take a considerable amount of time.