My fingers are crossed hoping that the data reported is valid. With the economy being essentially shutdown I was almost expecting a 100% unemployment rate (yes, it's an exaggeration). So I was flabbergasted when it should an increase in employment.
I did a casual internet search for any obvious articles lambasting the jobs report. As expected the (anti-Trump) NY Times wrote this article: Can You Believe the Jobs Numbers? So I saw this as an opportunity to find if the job report numbers were "cooked". Alas, the article was empty of any analysis. I would have expected the Times to have hired an army of accountants to find mistakes or accounting gymnastics so that the Trump administration could be blamed for lying to the people. Given that the Times failed to find any obvious bad news, maybe the jobs report really was good news.
There have certainly been a lot of layoffs and cutbacks, me among them. That said, I have heard that many businesses were hiring a lot of people. Amazon comes to mind, plus grocery stores and such. It does seem odd that those pluses would outweigh the minuses though. I wonder if those were month-to-month numbers, meaning only that May was better than April?
Regarding comparisons with the Spanish flu in 1918-19, see a National Geographic article here. Shows the infection rates for a number of US cities and second peaks where isolation was lifted too early.
The current pandemic is not as bad as then, when about 1 in 4 got infected and 1 in 30 died.
The market up-tick is no surprise. Remember that the stock market is essentially legalized gambling, betting on business outcomes. When the pandemic seems to be coming under control (in relative terms), people anticipate a return to the stock market we had. Their money has been tied up on the sidelines waiting for opportunities. The pandemic has a two-week inception period, but the market has a longer lead time.
The unemployment numbers aren't that much of a surprise either. Many states are doing "phase I" which means ramping up some of their staff even though they are not full-on ready for the people they used to have. Some are even entering "phase II" which means even more businesses opening and trying to get back the employees they had. Not full employment yet - but room for more people in business as customers OR as employees.
Much of what drives the market is perception and consumer confidence. It seems to me that consumer confidence should be low, due to Covid-19 and the current unrest. That should be the case, but I have seen several days of positive markets.
Some people invest in what I call the the misery index, the idea is to buy something like heating oil futures in the summer when the price of heating oil is relativity low. Sell high when the cost of heating oil is in a higher demand during the winter.
Well things are slowing opening up around here. Not sure how many people are still out of work or on a reduced schedule. Me and my wife are avoiding any places that we can (we still do our shopping, but not going to the malls or sitting in a restaurant).