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Drumbeat of negative data pushes yields lower

Yields declined this week amid a steady drumbeat of negative economic data as the economic cost of containing the coronavirus is becoming increasingly apparent.  The most notable release was Thursday's initial jobless claims data, which indicated that 5.2 million new claims were made for unemployment insurance during the week ended 4/10/20. 

Over the past four weeks, nearly 22 million new filings have been made for state unemployment benefits - a number which represents 14% of employed Americans as of February month-end.  This level of claims implies an unemployment rate of approximately 17%.  As bad as this sounds, the reality may be even worse, as several states appear to be having difficulty processing this elevated number of claims. 

Other economic data was similarly dire, with retail sales, factory production, and housing activity all diving in March.  Fed activity also pressured rates, as their commercial paper funding facility commenced operations on Tuesday.

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