Happy Friday and welcome to February. 2021 is already moving along at a brisk pace for sure. After a few snow days here in Maryland, I for one am already looking forward to Spring. Or perhaps a nice warm vacation? One can only wish. We had a relatively quiet week in the financial markets and that was a welcome change from the trading frenzy we have seen recently.
One interesting and notable data point I read today, mentioned how the January jobs report showed high rates of long-term unemployment, which is a period of joblessness lasting at least six months. Almost 40% of jobless workers are long-term unemployed according to the Bureau of Labor, nearing the record of 46% set following the Great Recession (2010). The significant, prolonged drop in household income will have continued ripple effects across the economic recovery if things do not get back on track soon. It is clear that this data has already reached the highest levels as the Biden administration seems intent on reaching a deal soon. Biden appeared on television this afternoon to comment on the need for additional stimulus and that actions needed to be taken now, not later. We shall watch and see how this unfolds over the next few weeks.
More welcome news came from J&J as they applied to the FDA for emergency use and approval for their Covid vaccine on Thursday evening. It is widely viewed that this approval will come through and perhaps we will begin to see a distribution phase begin in early March. Having 3 vaccines in production and available will go a long way toward achieving protection and herd immunity for us all. I think we are all more than ready to resume a more “normal” existence.
Stay safe and healthy!