Our Market Optics chartbook contains data-driven insights that power our portfolio management teams’ views, ideas, and decisions. Each week, we’ll take a look a closer look at one of the charts.

This week’s topic: Labor Market: The rocky road to recovery


  • The unemployment rate in the U.S. went from a record low in January (3.5%) to a record high in April (14.7%). It has since fallen to 10.2% as of July.
  • Other countries had different employment support programs in place, so the global experience with unemployment can differ dramatically by country. Since the February peak in employment in the U.S., U.S. employment is still 8.4% lower. Germany’s is 1.6% lower, and Japan’s is 2.3% lower.
  • There has been one wave of worry after another since the economy bottomed in April or May. First, it was an increase in coronavirus cases and a rewinding of reopening plans. Now it is the deepening cold war between the U.S. and China. These waves of worry can keep investors skeptical of the economic outlook. This is likely why the economic data keeps surprising investors to the upside. Every worry means investors think there will be a pullback, but the data defy expectations and the economy and market keep moving higher. This is why it’s often said that bull markets tend to climb a “wall of worry.”
  • There have been plenty of worries along the way and there will likely be more to come as the global economy travels its rocky road to recovery, but long-term investors should focus on the long-term trajectory of the economy and not worry so much about short-term fluctuations.

Get more charts and insights like this by downloading our Q2 Market Optics chartbook today.

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