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Weekly Economic Monitor – Distorted Data, a Clear Near-Term Picture, but a Foggy Outlook

By Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., Raymond James

Economic data reports are generally backward-looking. There’s a lot of noise, reflecting statistical uncertainty and seasonal adjustment difficulties. Reports for March 2020 present a greater challenge. Social distancing was sporadic, with some states locking things down sooner than others. One should always take a given piece of economic data with a grain of salt, but this is especially so now. Yet, it’s pretty clear that the economy began to contract in March and that second quarter figures will be much worse. For the markets, the bigger question is how long it will take the economy to recover and when that will start.

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