The U.S Goes Back to Work, Brazil’s President and Fake News, Monitor Highlights

RavenPack COVID-19 Update | June 11, 2020

In this update, unemployment recovers in the world’s largest economy, a fake news scandal threatens Brazil’s President, and how the monitor can be used to get the stories driving the indexes.

Key Takeaways

  • Recent labour market data in the U.S. improves as Coronavirus news analytics ease
  • Brazil’s fake news index peaks after President Bolsonaro is investigated for allegedly smearing his opponents
  • How to get the most out of the monitor’s news feed functionality

Go To Coronavirus News Monitor

The U.S. Labour Market Recovers

Despite recent protests, it is back to work as usual for many U.S. citizens - at least according to recent labour market statistics, which showed the economy adding 2.5 million new jobs in May even though forecasters expected another minus figure.

Payrolls Surprisingly Rise in May

Another related metric, weekly Jobless claims, have also been falling quite steeply after the spike at the start of the month, as can be seen in the chart below.

Sliding Jobless Claims Herald Recovery

RavenPack news analytics data can be used as a forewarning of reversals in econometrics and the chart below shows an example of this with the difference between the daily count of headlines mentioning the phrases “facilities close” and “facilities open” peaking and then declining prior to weekly Jobless Claims.

Facilities Open Close Ahead of Jobless Claims

The early recovery in the U.S. labor market suggests the off-the-wall forecasts of some economists - such as well known influencer Lars Christensen, AKA ‘the Money Doctor’, who has been saying unemployment would fall to 6.0% in the U.S. by the time of the presidential elections in November - seem more believable.

Christensen repeated his views about unemployment in a recent RavenPack virtual panel about the economic outlook post-COVID 19, which you can watch below.

Indication of Green Shoots from the News Monitor

The indexes of the COVID news monitor appear to have prefigured the green shoots seen in the U.S. labour market. For weeks now, they have been showing signs of continued decline in key indexes used to track the spread of the coronavirus.

The Media Hype Index, for example, which measures the percentage of all news talking about Coronavirus fell to a new 3-month low of 36.04% recently, as shown in the chart below; this compares to the +65% readings in March at the height of the pandemic.

U.S. Media Hype at 3-Month Low

Meanwhile, U.S. news sentiment regarding the novel coronavirus has become a lot more optimistic over recent weeks and is now well into positive territory as reflected in the chart below.

U.S. Sentiment in Positive Territory

The Panic Index, which has also been found to correlate significantly with the impact of the disease has shown a continuation of its decline from the March highs, indicating an end to the alarmist news that dominated at earlier stages in the pandemic.

Panic Index Continues Steady Decline

Finally, the level of contagion between different assets and entities as measured by our Infodemic Index has also fallen, suggesting an uncoupling of related entities, which is to be expected from a recovery such as this, where parts of the economy bounce back quicker than others.

U.S. Asset Contagion Lessens

Why Fake News is a Hot Topic in Brazil

f you use the monitor to compare discussion levels about fake news related to COVID in Brazil to the rest of the world, Brazil has much higher levels as shown by the chart below. What could explain this discrepancy?

Brazilian vs. Worldwide Fake News

The answer is a story which could potentially rock the very foundations of Brazil’s political establishment, on a parallel with what the Watergate scandal did to the Nixon administration.

Reports are the judicial arm of the government has begun investigating allegations that president Jair Bolsonaro is secretly using fake news to smear his opponents.

“It has long been a fact of political life here that virtually anyone who criticizes Bolsonoro — from the powerful to everyday journalists — draws overwhelming and coordinated digital smears.” Writes Terence McCoy, a reporter for MSN news, in a story featured on our monitor.

The extent of the investigation has even led to police searching the president’s private residences; and his closest allies and even his children are thought to possibly be involved in the spreading of fake news about his enemies.

“Now investigators and prominent politicians are charging that some, if not much, of the disinformation, is being generated not in the internet’s nether reaches, but by those closest to Bolsonaro — friendly bloggers, wealthy businessmen, close aides, even his own children. Critics have called it the “office of hate.” Continues McCoy.

Now there are fears the investigation may lead to a constitutional crisis if it were to unearth evidence of the president’s complicity as well as the chance of impeachment. To read the full story here.

Monitor Highlights

This week we highlight how the monitor intelligently syncs actual news stories according to users’ preferences, and how users can click on these story’s headlines to visit the source of the news and read the articles behind the analytics.

On the monitor homepage, users will notice that there is a news feed in the upper right-hand corner which shows a refreshing feed of the latest stories about the novel coronavirus.

RavenPack Coronavirus News Monitor

Users can click on the headlines to go straight to the source of the story and read the full article.

In addition, when users make a particular country selection from the region menu in the top left-hand corner the news feed automatically updates to only show news stories relevant to that country - for example Brazil, in the case below.

Brazil Coronavirus News Monitor

In addition, if the user drills down and opens one of the indexes such as the fake news chart, for example, the right-hand side of the popup will also show a news feed corresponding only to news about that particular index - in this case, fake news.

Coronavirus Worldwide Fake News Index

The same also goes for the Related Topics table on the right-hand side of the monitor. When a user opens a topic to see the time series it will also show a news feed with all the contributing stories only related to that topic in the selected country - in this case, ‘Layoffs’ in the U.S.

Layoffs USA

This means that when users drill down to study certain topics or themes they are also presented with the actual stories driving the higher-level stats allowing a top-to-bottom news analytics experience like no other!

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