Given the surge in unemployment claims over the last month the US unemployment rate is expected to rise to 16% in April from just 4.4% in March. Shocking as that number is, we have no problem with that forecast. But for some reason economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect average hourly earnings to grow at +3.3% year-over-year in April compared to 3.1% in March, and they expect average weekly hours of 33.6 in April compared to 34.2 in March.

I do wonder how it can be that the unemployment rate will shoot up to a post-war high and yet those employees who were not furloughed or laid off will, in aggregate, have the near the same level of hours and earnings as before. After all, Google search trends for the terms “pay cut” and “hours cut” have reached an all-time high in recent weeks.