The financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic are very real.
The income earned by workers globally fell 10.7% cent in the first nine months of 2020, says the International Labor Organization (ILO).
That is a loss of more than $3.5 trillion. It’s the equivalent of 5.5% of global GDP.
The fall in working hours in the second quarter of 2020 was even sharper than previously thought.
ILO research released on Wednesday showed a decline of 17.3% from pre-pandemic levels. That is equivalent to the loss of almost half a billion full-time jobs!
The ILO outlook for the remainder of 2020 was also bleaker than its previous forecast.
Lost working hours are expected to total 345 million full-time jobs in the third quarter . . . and 245 million jobs in the final three months of 2020.
Just think of how bad conditions would be if governments had not launched economic recovery programs.
However, those programs have had less effect than the stimulus programs enacted in the 2008-09 global financial crisis.
That’s because, as the ILO stated, the “quite obvious lack of unity” at the international level.
Without U.S. leadership, countries have just done their own thing.
That is unlike 2009, when a huge stimulus program from China lit the fire for a global economic recovery and other countries did their part.
That is not happening today.
That will translate into an economic recovery that is much more slow and shallow.
The Big News
Finland began offering coronavirus tests for passengers at Helsinki’s airport. They’re conducted by dogs trained to sniff out the virus. Travelers who volunteer for the test rub their necks with a wipe to collect sweat samples. Then they leave the wipe in a box. A dog trainer puts the box behind a wall, along with cans that contain different scents. Researchers say the dogs can detect a coronavirus-infected person in 10 seconds, with 94% accuracy.
What Covid Vaccine Trials Won’t Do
Trials of three leading coronavirus-vaccine candidates will not tell us something important. The trials will not tell us whether the vaccines work against mild or more-severe forms of the disease. This is a problem because a vaccine might be deemed to work, even if it mostly prevents mild cases in young, healthy people. In that case, it might not reduce the number of deaths. Scientists would like trials from Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca modified.
New York Will Review Vaccine Trials Itself
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is opting for science. He said that New York state will examine vaccines independently, after federal approval. Cuomo cited concerns that the Trump administration may be rushing treatments to market: “Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion.” President Trump had said he could overrule any decision from the FDA.
Pac-12 Football to Resume
The Pac-12 football conference is following in the footsteps of recent action by the Big Ten. The conference reversed its earlier position of not playing until at least next year. It could start its season as soon as Nov. 6. That makes it the latest conference to defy the pandemic’s risks. The reason is straightforward – to shore up its members’ financial health.
Democrats Try to Restart Stimulus Talks
Democrats in the House of Representatives are putting together a new economic stimulus package. The price tag is $2.4 trillion. That is lower than their existing plan but perhaps still too high to broker a deal with Republicans. There is mounting pressure on Congress to do more to inject stimulus into the U.S. economy before the November election.
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The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Friday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 32,261,676 Infected Worldwide
- 983,492 Deaths
- 6,979,937 Infected in the U.S.
- 202,827 Deaths in the U.S.
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Let’s say we do get a weaker-than-expected economic recovery.
Then stock picking becomes even more important. Finding companies playing the long-term macroeconomic trends will be absolutely crucial.
Here’s an example: Nike (NYSE: NKE).
It recently reported that surging online sales mostly offset lower foot traffic in stores.
And it offered a bullish outlook for the remainder of its fiscal year.
Nike said digital sales nearly doubled in the three months to the end of August. It’s the world’s largest sportswear maker by revenue.
This increase in online shopping during the pandemic suggests online shopping habits were becoming ingrained.
Notably, North America was Nike’s weakest market. Sales fell by 2%.
That’s because American consumers lag far behind consumers in places like China in shopping online.
The pandemic will speed up the transition for American shoppers to buying products online.
That will boost companies like Nike.
The company has worked to transform itself from primarily a wholesaler to a direct seller. It has invested in its own stores, its website and apps.
These are types of growth opportunities you should look for.
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Yours in Health & Wealth,