The economic news out of the US continues to worsen even as the daily death toll once again rises into the thousands. According to a Federal Reserve report on Friday, industrial output fell 11.2% in April, including a 13.7% fall in manufacturing output, the largest decline in the 101-year history of the series.
The Fed said industrial production in April was 15% lower than in April 2019 and back under its 2012 level. Capacity utilisation (the amount of US production of things, not services) fell to 64.9% in April, 14.9% under its long term average and 1.8 percentage points under its all time low in the GFC in 2009.
But US retailing makes industry look healthy. April saw a record 16% slump in US retail sales in April, which succeeded the previous record fall of 8.3% in March. That's nearly one quarter of retail sales in two months -- the value of retail sales in April, US$403.9 billion, was the lowest since 2012, and that's before inflation.