Independent Strategy

Macro Matters

March 2021

Independent Strategy Blog: Macro Matters

Despite the resurgence of Covid cases in certain places, the global economic recovery remains on track. That’s based on Google’s fast track data (through to March 27th).  Europe, which suffered last week, was on the up again with improvements in Germany, France and Spain.  The dip in Italy also looks to have based out, helped by a pick-up in the last couple of days.  The UK meanwhile continues on its improving streak.

Google’s fast track data has painted more of a mixed picture over the past week (to 20th March).  For the most part the overall trend is still one of improvement, but fairly pronounced declines in a couple of countries in our sample has taken a toll and is rather concerning.

The latest batch of Google mobility data, which take us up to 13th March, hints at a slight slowdown in the rate of improvement, amid some setbacks in some of the individual countries we survey.  But this looks like ebb and flow and doesn’t detract from the underlying trend, which remains one of improvement.

The improvements made in mobility and economic activity continues based of the latest batch of google mobility data.  The series take us up to 6th March and based on that the recovery remains on the front foot, underpinned by expanding vaccine coverage and the resulting boost to confidence that has delivered as well as the overall decline in infection rates, even if that trend looks to have flatlined more immediately.

February Non-farm payrolls recorded a 379k gain, comfortably exceeding the +182k median forecast.  This leaves the 3m average at +80k.  Private sector payrolls were significantly better than the headline print at +465k, manufacturing added +21k jobs while government dropped -86k.  The surprise might have been even higher were it not for the weather events in Texas, which was behind the 939k people not at work due to the weather (Feb average is 385k).  The unemployment rate ticked down to 6.2% and participation was unchanged at 61.4% despite this.  The workweek did drop though, to 34.6, although this is from a rather elevated 34.9.

Based on Google mobility statistics we’re seeing a sustained improvement in activity now.  This is only likely to gather speed as vaccine coverage continues to expand, restrictions ease, alongside the seasonal improvements one should expect upon the arrival of spring, and, with a bit of luck, some UV.

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