The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 160.6 million on Thursday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University , while the death toll rose above 3.3 million.
The U.S. continues to lead the world in cases and deaths by wide margins, with 32.8 million cases and 583,938 deaths, or about a fifth of the worldwide tallies.
India is second to the U.S. by cases at 23.7 million and third by fatalities at 258,317.
Brazil is third with 15.3 million cases and second by fatalities at 428,034.
Mexico has the fourth-highest death toll at 219,590 and 2.4 million cases, or 15th highest tally.
The U.K. has 4.5 million cases and 127,912 deaths, the fifth-highest in the world and highest in Europe.
China, where the virus was first discovered late in 2019, has had 102,674 confirmed cases and 4,846 deaths, according to its official numbers, which are widely held to be massively underreported.
What’s the economy saying?
U.S. wholesale prices increased sharply again in April and signaled that more inflation is bubbling up in the U.S. economy, just a day after another government report showed the cost of living rose at the fastest pace in 13 years, MarketWatch’s Jeffry Bartash reported.
The producer-price index jumped 0.6% last month, the government said Thursday . Economists polled by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.3% gain.
What’s more, the rate of wholesale inflation in the past 12 months climbed to 6.2% from 4.2% in the prior month. That’s the highest level since the index was reformulated in 2009.
Back then a record spike in oil prices drove most of the increase in wholesale prices. Now the cost of many raw and partly finished goods are rising, ranging from farm crops to precious metals to computer chips.
Prices for a variety of goods and services have soared this year as the economy recovered from the coronavirus pandemic. Massive government financial aid to Americans, rising vaccination rates, and falling coronavirus cases have underpinned a rapid recovery and businesses can’t keep up with demand.
The Federal Reserve, the nation’s guardian against high inflation, insists t he price surge is a temporary phenomenon tied to the reopening of the economy . Top central bankers say inflation will fade by next year and settle around the Fed’s 2% goal.
Investors aren’t entirely sure. Stocks sank Wednesday after t he consumer-price index posted its biggest one-month increase since 200 9.
Separately, applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week to a fresh pandemic low, reflecting more aggressive efforts by companies to hire new workers amid a rapid economic recovery.
Initial jobless claims in the states dropped by 34,000 to 473,000 in the seven days ended May 8, the government said Thursday . It was the fifth decline in a row.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had forecast new claims to total a seasonally adjusted 500,000.
Businesses are trying to hire more people as the economy moves toward a full opening and consumers itch to satisfy cravings for many purchases they put off during the pandemic. Massive federal stimulus has put more cash in people’s pockets and dwindling coronavirus cases has given them the confidence to spend it.
Yet despite record job openings, the economy only created a paltry 266,000 new jobs in April . Wall Street had a forecast a much larger increase of 1 million.