2Q 2020 Market Commentary
The second quarter of 2020 will be remembered for a very long time. It will be remembered for the myriad little ways life has been disrupted by stay-at-home orders and social distancing, from masks, to hand sanitizer, to waiting in line, to Zoom fatigue. It will be remembered by those who have lost their careers and businesses as a period marked by fear, uncertainty, and financial distress. It will be remembered for George Floyd and for Black Lives Matter, and it will be remembered as a time of intense social strife fueled by systemic inequality and injustice. Most of all, however, the second quarter of 2020 will be remembered for the lives lost. COVID-19’s human cost has been incalculable, and this mark will be upon us for a generation. Children have lost parents, and parents have lost children. As a people, we have lost a wealth of talent, ideas, creativity, and spirit, and society is now poorer as a result. Over half a million people worldwide have died so far, one quarter of them Americans. More than ten million people have been infected across the globe, and only half have recovered. Here in the U.S., infections have again started to rise, and we now have over 1.8 million confirmed, active cases. To date, more than 2.6 million Americans have been infected. For most of us, the past few months have been a time without precedent in living memory.
This incredible human cost has come with a steep economic price. In March and April, businesses around the country were required to close as the result of stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders. These orders, though they helped to slow the spread of the virus, pushed the U.S. economy into a historically deep recession. 17.8 million people are presently out of work, and the unemployment rate sits at 11.1%, down from a high of 14.7% in April. By comparison, the unemployment rate peaked at 10.6% during the Great Recession, also known as the Global Financial Crisis.