Economic Data

Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate is the proportion of the labor force that is currently not employed. In general, it moves with changing economic conditions as a lagging indicator. In an expanding economy, the unemployment rate can be expected to decrease while a contracting economy will likely see an increase in the unemployment rate. 

The unemployment rate is never zero as there is always a natural rate of unemployment in the form of frictional (voluntary time to transition to a new job) and structural (caused by shifts in the economy) unemployment.

After the unemployment rate had a peak at 10% in October 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis, it has been decreasing steadily. At the end of 2019, the unemployment rate was 3.5%, indicating full (or close to) full employment. 

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Inflation Rate (CPI)

Inflation measures the average price level of a basket of goods and services in an economy. It indicates a decline in purchasing power of the respective currency, where a currency unit buys less than it did previously. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is most widely used to measure inflation in the US. 

Most central banks use an inflation target of 2% (annual), which is considered to be a healthy increase in price level that promotes consumer spending.

Amidst the aftermath of the financial crisis, inflation was negative (deflation) in 2009 and climbed to 1.8% for the year of 2019. 

(Source: World Bank)


Initial Claims

The data refers to weekly unemployment insurance claims filed by unemployed individuals once leaving their employer. The count of initial claims for unemployment insurance is a leading economic indicator of emerging labor market conditions. 

Since its high of 661,000 in mid-March 2009, the weekly initial claims have decrease and noted 220,000 at the end of 2019. Following business shutdowns and worker layoffs as a response to the coronavirus, initial claims jumped to 281,000 in mid-March 2020. 

On March 26th, 2020 the weekly report noted a new all-time-high number of initial claims at 3.29 million.

(Source: U.S. Employment and Training Administration)


Financial Stress Index

The FSI measures the degree of financial stress in the markets and is constructed from 18 weekly data series: seven interest rate series, six yield spreads and five other indicators. Each of these variables captures some aspect of financial stress.  

(Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)


USD/EUR Exchange Rate

Since June 2008 when one Euro was worth $1.57, the USD has appreciated in value. At the end of 2019, one Euro was worth $1.12.

(Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US))


USD/GBP Exchange Rate

Since the late 2007, where one British pound was worth over $2, the USD has appreciated in value. By end of 2019, one British Pound was worth $1.33. 

(Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US))


USD/AUD Exchange Rate

After the AUD fell sharply relative to the USD in the financial crisis (2007-2009) to a low of $0.64, it recovered up to $1.10 in July 2011. Since then, the AUD has depreciated against the USD and closed the year 2019 at $0.70. 

(Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US))


Restaurant Revenue YoY

As people were encouraged to self-isolate in response to the spread of the coronavirus, restaurants have been hit hard. 

The year-over-year change has exhibited large losses in March 2020. While restaurants in Boston did not show much of a decline in early March, they quickly caught up with the industry nationwide, reflecting over 80% year-over-year declines toward the end of the month. 



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