By the numbers: The economy this week

Update for May 26, 2020

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

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  • Housing starts plummeted 30.2% in April, according to the Census Bureau.
  • The Markit Flash U.S. PMI Composite Output Index jumped to 36.4 in May from 27.0 in April.
  • Existing home sales dropped 17.8% in April, the National Association of Realtors reported.


  • The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 17.2% for the week ending May 9, an increase of 1.7 percentage points from the previous week's revised rate, according to the Department of Labor.


  • As of May 14, 2020, of the 452 S&P 500 Index companies reporting first-quarter earnings, 303 beat analysts’ estimates, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.


  • The European Commission’s Flash Consumer Confidence Indicator for the euro area improved in May, but remained at levels below the long-term average.


  • The Markit Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index rose to 30.5 in May from 13.6 in April. [up arrow]
  • The Markit Flash Germany PMI Composite Output Index increased to 31.4 in May from 17.4 in April.


  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note traded in a range.


  • Many countries around the world are now in recession as a result of the "sudden stop" induced by governments to contain the spread of COVID-19.
  • 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.
  • Brexit, Italian debt dynamics, and a fragile European banking system are likely to renew further tensions within the eurozone over fiscal burden sharing, once the pandemic shock recedes.

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.