Business Cycle Indicators, May 15th

With industrial production for April released, we have a clearer picture of economic activity in that month. Here are some indicators followed by the NBER’s BCDC.

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment (blue), industrial production (red), personal income excluding transfers in Ch.2012$ (green), manufacturing and trade sales in Ch.2012$ (black), and monthly GDP in Ch.2012$ (pink), all log normalized to 2019M02=0. Source: BLS, Federal Reserve, BEA, via FRED, Macroeconomic Advisers (4/28 release), and author’s calculations.

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200 Economists: “Costly protectionism should not be foisted on patients at home and abroad”

From an open letter to Mr. Trump:

A Buy America directive can also hamstring the ability of U.S. pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers to meet our future needs if firms are denied access to essential foreign supplies. Moreover, we can expect our trading partners to adopt retaliatory “Don’t Buy American” barriers targeting U.S. exports as this type of retaliation is already occurring between other countries.

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Beware of Definitive Statements

Reader Steven Kopits disputes the idea that the US per capita fatality rates can approach those of Italy:

Reporting for the day May 8, the US had the 5th highest death rate (for this day alone, not cumulatively), at 6.8 per million. Interestingly, Sweden was No. 2 at 9.7 per million.
Here’s the top fifteen in order (worst at top) of 84 countries reporting deaths today:

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