Tentative signs that the worst of the economic damage has been done by the coronavirus pandemic emerged yesterday in closely-watched readings from Britain, the eurozone and the United States.
Private-sector output in all three continued to fall this month but bounced back more than expected from record lows in April, three reports showed. A further report showed that new claims for unemployment benefits in the US fell for the seventh consecutive week, although they remained at an extreme level.
Economists said that although the readings had improved, they continued to highlight the severe damage being wrought by the pandemic, from which recovery would be slow, especially in Britain. IHS Markit’s “flash” composite purchasing managers’ index, which measures changes in output, new orders and employment in the services and manufacturing sectors, climbed to 28.9 in Britain this month, from 13.8 in April. The same index for the eurozone rose to 30.5 from 13.6, and in the US it increased to 36.4 from 27.4.
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— Catherine Jones (@cathyjones173) May 22, 2020