Must Try Harder

Image source: Annette Shaff, Alexandros Michailidis, Frederic Legrand - COMEO, Jean-Claude Caprara - Shutterstock

What's going on?

Fresh survey data out on Tuesday showed economic activity in the eurozone and the UK was at its lowest level ever recorded this month. See us after class, please.

What does this mean?

Let’s start with the good news: the regular surveys, which ask purchasing managers how busy they’ve been each month, showed manufacturing industries were actually doing better than economists had predicted. But it’s the services sector – think airline, hospitality, and office workers – that represents over 80% of both economies. And with conferences being canceled, travel plans being abandoned, and restaurants and retailers being shut, services activity nosedived further than expected – and dragged the economy down with it.

Why should I care?

The bigger picture: Working hard, or hardly working?
Data on Tuesday also showed the eurozone labor market at its weakest since 2009. But unlike the US – where unemployment benefit claims jumped to a two-and-a-half-year high last week – economists reckon the region might actually avoid massive job losses. See, places like Germany, France, and Italy – which in total represent almost two-thirds of the eurozone’s economic strength – have laws that ensure workers get paid even when they’re temporarily unable to work. And while European countries have largely added to these programs with even more spending, US workers are still waiting on their government to deliver their first support package.

For markets: The writing’s on the wall.
Investors probably weren’t shocked by Tuesday’s data: governments, central banks, and companies have been warning of what’s to come for weeks now, after all. Just bear in mind that professional investors aren’t shocked by much: they have pricey newswires, sophisticated algorithms, and analysts on side to give them an edge in responding to news and analysis that “retail” investors simply don’t have.

Originally posted as part of the Finimize daily email.

The top 2 financial news stories in 3 minutes. Join over one million Finimizers

Read next

Broken Record

Sign up to Finimize

Get the two most important global financial news stories each day. Sent at midnight UK time.

Get started with one email a day

The top financial news stories in 3 minutes.