Released: 20 August 2020
U.S. Sales Managers Report a Further Decline in Profits, Sales and Jobs in August
However the Business Confidence Index moved up significantly in August, and is now signalling greater enthusiasm for prospects over the next few months. This is the most positive change in any of the survey responses since Covid struck.
Panelists responses to the question of sales performance were not positive in August, although the Index moved a full 5 points towards the 50 "no change" level. The Sales index is now way above the all-time low level seen in May of 34.3, recording an index level of 48.8 in August, no longer very far from the 50 level. But it should be remembered that this positive looking improvement (a fall in the rate of decline) relates to sales activity relative to that of the previous month. A bad month followed by a slightly less bad month will produce a positive looking result, but does not suggest an increase in sales levels, or economic activity in general.
The Staffing Index is of considerable significance this month, as (unlike the Sales Growth Index) it compares staffing levels in August this year with levels seen last year. The Staffing Index remains deep in negative territory, with few respondents appearing to have need of more people, and most making do with fewer employees than a year ago.
In general, panelists report an economy slowly re-opening and ready to produce, but still waiting for the consumer demand that makes up a sizeable proportion of overall economic activity in the United States.
Conditions as yet do not appear to be getting better in the sense of showing real and significant sales increases, but at least the dive into recession is moderating, and confidence clearly improving.
United States: Staffing Levels Index
The Staffing Levels Index monitors the level of growth or decline in employment against the same period a year earlier..
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