Today’s numbers: The COVID economy
As of 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, Jan. 15, 2021 (we’ll update every weekday morning).
“The leading economic indicator is … the virus.” More than one analyst has put it to us this way. As we try to understand and quantify this unprecedented global economic collapse — and now the attempted restart — we’re following key metrics for COVID-19 and the broader economy.
Welcome to Marketplace’s daily, at-a-glance update.
U.S. COVID-19 deaths reported yesterday: 3,915 (falling)
U.S. COVID-19 new cases yesterday: 222,944 (rising)
Americans receiving first COVID vaccine dose: 11.1 million (36% of doses shipped)
COVID patients now in hospital: 128,947 (falling)
Homebuyers making offers, sight unseen: 63%
Consumer sentiment–January: -1.9% below December 2020; -20.6% below January 2020
Retail Sales — December: -0.7% below November
Consumer confidence by party
Keep in mind: The tally of COVID-19 cases represents only the ones that are documented.
Our main trusty sources: World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins University, Our World in Data (based on WHO data, Covid Tracking (scientist/journalist collaboration), GasBuddy.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
With a slow vaccine rollout so far, how has the government changed its approach?
On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced changes to how the federal government is distributing vaccine doses. The CDC has expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older, along with people with conditions that might raise their risks of complications from COVID-19. The new approach also looks to reward those states that are the most efficient by giving them more doses, but critics say that won’t address underlying problems some states are having with vaccine rollout.
What kind of help can small businesses get right now?
A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.
What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?
New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.
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