These indicators are supposed to tell us what the economy is going to look like going forward. In today’s environment, with the coronavirus panic, the leading indicators are not worth much. When entire countries shut down and people are hunkering in their homes it is obvious that the economy is going to suffer sharply. So do not look to the indicators to help you. They work best in normal times to provide a hint of the future. Today we have been hit with a sledgehammer.
The real question is how deep of a collapse will this be? It appears to me that the reaction may do more damage than the virus itself. How many people without a job live paycheck to paycheck? Are they going to be out on the street? Will they be able to feed their families?
If you are rational, and I am not talking to people hoarding toilet paper because clearly, they are not rational, America will get back to work fairly soon. Once the peek spread of the virus is known, and we are just getting out enough test kits to provide that number over the next couple of weeks, then the government will start to ease the restrictions. That is at least a couple weeks away.