Today, in an exchange with a noted fan on Fox Business, impeached and manifestly unfit President Trump said a bunch of really dumb untrue things on live television that made no sense at all. Read the rest
• U.S. jobless claims totaled 2.98 million last week, unemployment is close to 16% Read the rest
IMAGE: Health Insurance Coverage Before and After Job Loss Among People in a Family Experiencing Job Loss as of May 2, 2020, courtesy kff.org
New jobs report from U.S. released on Friday:
JOBS LOST IN APRIL: 20.5 million
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 14.7%
This is the worst U.S. jobs report since the World War II era. Read the rest
At least 4.4m workers claimed unemployment benefits for the first time in the week ending April 18.
Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims
Initial claims were 4,427,000 for the week ending 4/18 (-810,000).
Insured unemployment was 15,976,000 for the week ending 4/11 (+4,064,000).https://t.co/ys7Eg5LKAW
— US Labor Department (@USDOL) April 23, 2020
The numbers of new filers are down from the previous week, which saw 5.2m new claimants, and the 6.9m and 6.6m claims the two weeks previous to that. The numbers are nonetheless astronomical, and suggest that the total unemployment figure will soon exceed 30m, about 20% of the workforce.
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Roughly 26 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the five weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors. About one in six American workers have now lost their jobs since mid-March, by far the worst string of layoffs on record. Economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20%. The enormous magnitude of job cuts has plunged the U.S. economy into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Some economists say the nation’s output could shrink by twice the amount that it did during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009.
A large majority of people surveyed say they are concerned that restrictions on social distancing will be lifted too soon. Even before cities and states issued stay at home orders, people were avoiding restaurants and other crowded places, according to Matthew Iglesias of Vox. There's no reason to think that "reopening" the economy is certainly going to make people think it's OK to mingle in crowds again.
This week, governors in states like Florida and Georgia are moving to reopen bowling alleys, nail salons, and dine-in restaurants in an effort to get economic life moving again. And an organized campaign by conservative economic interests is underway to lift restrictions faster in more places.
This will be an experiment, of course, but the best available evidence casts doubt on the idea that enough customers will return to make it possible for small businesses to stay viable without additional government assistance.
For example, we know customers began abandoning America’s restaurants before they were ordered closed, that the handful of states that have avoided broad lockdown orders are still feeling economic pain, and that huge swaths of the economy that have not been shut down are nonetheless experiencing a precipitous decline in sales.
It's also hard to imagine that a lot of people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic are going to get them back if the economy is "reopened." And it's unlikely people are going to get on planes, take vacations, stay in hotels, or buy cars and other expensive items. Read the rest
We are in the upside down. Read the rest
5.2 million more Americans joined the ranks of the jobless, as the coronavirus crisis continues to decimate the economy. Read the rest
6.6m Americans signed on last week, bringing the unemployed total to 17m. The record week almost matches thew week before, when nearly 7m applied for benefits, and the week before that, when more than 3m lost their jobs. Experts had predicted a 5m jump, and the larger toll signals a worse economic downturn than expected.
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Economists are expecting job losses will continue, with the unemployment rate peaking in the double digits sometime in the next few months, up from 4.4% in March. Bank of America economists predict employers will cut between 16 million and 20 million jobs, with the unemployment rate peaking at 15.6% between now and June. If that's the case, it could take at least a couple years for unemployment to return to its pre-pandemic levels. The recoveries from both those downturns were painfully slow, dragging on for years. Economists are hoping the recovery from this downturn will be faster, but ultimately, that will depend on when the coronavirus outbreak is contained.
More than 6.6m Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, breaking the record for the second week running.
"That brings the total number of Americans who filed for unemployment over the past two weeks to nearly 10 million," writes Fox Business's Megan Henney, "a stunning sign of the colossal economic damage inflicted by the outbreak."
Official figures date back to 1967, with the jobless peaks at 695,000 in 1982 and 665,000 in 2009. About 15m were unemployed in the early 1930s, however, then about 25% of the 60m-strong workforce. There are now 165m in the U.S. workforce. Read the rest
America has no fire drill for economic uncertainty. What is going to happen today, April 1st, in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, when everyone's rent, mortgages, and bills are due? Read the rest
Wouldn't it be amazing if the United States did this?
Britain’s finance minister Rishi Sunak said Thursday all self-employed citizens will receive a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly profits as part of the government’s coronavirus response plan. Read the rest
Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced its largest gain in a single day since 1933. Read the rest
It's already been reported that Trump is getting antsy about all the social-distancing quarantines intended to flatten the curve of coronavirus deaths, and that he's eager to return things to business-as-normal. Who cares about a million deaths as long as the economy is moving, amirite?
Unfortunately, Trump is not alone in his mass-murdering sentiment. Republicans have been parroting a new refrain this week, that, "The cure cannot be worse than the disease." But this implies that a few billionaires losing some money is objectively worse than a million dead. And that's just absurd.
Jonathan Ashbach took to The Federalist to complain about the ways that coronavirus impedes on that uniquely American value of "freedom."
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It seems harsh to ask whether the nation might be better off letting a few hundred thousand people die. Probably for that reason, few have been willing to do so publicly thus far. Yet honestly facing reality is not callous, and refusing even to consider whether the present response constitutes an even greater evil than the one it intends to mitigate would be cowardly.
First, consider the massive sacrifice of life Americans are making in their social distancing campaign. True, nearly all are not literally dying, but they are giving up a good deal of what makes life worth living — work, classes, travel, hugs, time with friends, conferences, quiet nights out, and so forth.
CNN reports that the spread of the coronavirus has greatly reduced demand for oil, "as schools and offices close, airlines cancel flights worldwide and a growing number of people hunker down at home."
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"This is a sudden, instant demand shock — and the scale of the decline is unprecedented," said Jim Burkhard, vice president and head of oil markets at IHS Markit.
The warning comes ahead of a critical meeting Thursday for OPEC members and allied producers in Vienna. The cartel, is under pressure to announce yet another round of coordinated production cuts, its preferred method of propping up prices.
Coronavirus fears have already driven oil into a bear market, with Brent crude futures, the global benchmark, trading at $52.65 per barrel, more than 23% below their recent peak in early January. US oil is trading at $48.22, nearly 24% below recent highs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummetted more than 1,000 points as news of a spreading coronavirus outbreak suggests wider coming damage to the global economy. Read the rest