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Weekly economic review & outlook Main Street hurting with the COVID-19 shutdown

April 13, 2020

You Need to Know

Week in review

Small businesses feel the pain of the COVID-19 recession

The small business optimism index posted its largest monthly decline ever in March as owners struggle with the widespread economic shutdown.

Lower gas prices and airline fares pull down inflation

The consumer price index (CPI) dropped by 0.4 percent in March while the core CPI saw its first decrease in more than 10 years.

Week Ahead


Retail sales should decline due to COVID-19-related policies

The question is not if but by how much retail sales declined in March with many retail operations unable to open their doors due to COVID-19-related policies.

Housing starts will also fall as construction sites begin to close

While some cities restrict construction and others ban it altogether, housing starts are expected to fall significantly in March.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are taking a big hit from the sudden economic stop battering the U.S. economy. The small business optimism index from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) posted its largest monthly decline ever in March (although the level of the index remains above that typically seen in recessions). Citing the immediate and drastic impact of the COVID-19 economic shutdown, business owners (especially within the service sector) expect much more difficult operating conditions this year. Survey readings showed reduced sales expectations and sharp declines in plans to increase employment or make capital outlays.