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Has the US already entered recession?

The US may already have entered recession according to the boss of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell.

According to Reuters, Mr Powell also said on the NBC’s Today Show: “The sooner we get through this period and get the virus under control, the sooner the recovery can come. We know that economic activity will decline probably substantially in the second quarter but I think many expect and I would expect economic activity to resume and move back up in the second half of the year.”

Overnight we learned that there were almost 3.3 million Americans who have registered for unemployment benefits for the week to 21 March 2020. The previous record was 695,000 in 1982. The population is higher since that point, but that only makes up for a portion of the difference. It was a huge increase.

Commentators also pointed out that the US faced an overload, like our Centrelink did, on both the website and phone line side of things for unemployment. And some types of workers don’t qualify for support.

And what did the US share market do in response?

The S&P 500 (INX) rose by 6.2% of course. Why? Seemingly because the unemployment figure wasn’t as bad as what was expected. It’s just like during reporting season how a share can rise if the profit fall wasn’t as bad as expected, even if the profit fall was horrible.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is also expected to rise today because the Aussie market generally follows the US market on a short-term basis.

Foolish takeaway

The USA now has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, so I can’t see things going back to normal as quickly as the US President would like. The fact that a lot of healthcare coverage in the US is linked to having a job is also concerning.

However, share markets can do strange things and may prove more resilient than some people were expecting, particularly with all of the government and central bank support.

With share prices lower, these top ASX growth shares could be some of the best ones to buy today.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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