By the numbers: The economy this week

Update for March 30, 2020   |   Download PDF

Highlights of key economic statistics from last week compiled by Putnam Investments.


  • The trade deficit narrowed in February, the Census Bureau stated.
  • The Flash PMI Composite Output Index plummeted to 40.5 in March from 49.6 in February.
  • GDP grew 2.1% in the fourth quarter, according to a third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • New home sales declined 4.4% in February, the Census Bureau found.


  • Initial jobless claims soared by 3 million to 3,283,000 in the week ended March 21, 2020, according to the Department of Labor.


  • Corporate profits increased 2.6% at a quarterly rate in the fourth quarter after decreasing 0.2% in the third quarter. Corporate profits increased 2.2% year over year in the fourth quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.


  • The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment sank to 89.1 in March from 101.0 in February, in the fourth largest one-month decline in nearly 50 years.


  • The Markit Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index plummeted to 31.4 in March from 51.6 in February, marking the biggest collapse ever recorded.
  • The Flash Germany PMI Composite Output Index plunged to 37.2 in March from 50.7 in February, setting a record pace of contraction.
  • The ifo Business Climate Index for Germany dropped in March, posting the steepest fall since the country’s reunification.


  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note traded in a range.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said economy "may well be in a recession."
  • The Bank of England voted to hold rates steady.


  • Global manufacturing remains under pressure from lagged effects of tariffs, supply chain disruptions, and the China slowdown caused by the coronavirus.
  • Brexit, Italian debt dynamics, and a fragile European banking system risk tipping Europe back into recession.
  • Risk asset price movements continue forcing policy makers toward much more aggressive, targeted fiscal policy as a response to the demand shock introduced by pandemic fears.

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All economic and performance information is historical and does not guarantee future results. The views and opinions expressed are those of Putnam Investments, are subject to change with market conditions, and are not meant as investment advice.