Not Ready For Economic Collapse: Only 41 Percent Of Americans Have $1000 To Cover An Emergency

We better hope that the U.S. economy holds together in 2020, because if there is any sort of major economic crisis much of the country is going to be broke almost immediately.  Today, close to half of all Americans are living on the edge financially.  For many, it is out of necessity, but for others it is a conscious choice.  Way too many people out there see no need to build up a substantial financial cushion because they have a tremendous amount of faith in the system.  They don’t think that things will ever get too bad in this country, and so there is no urgency to put funds away for a rainy day.  But even if authorities could somehow prevent an economic downturn from ever happening again, individual emergencies are taking place all around us on a constant basis.  Cars break down, people get sick, and accidents happen.  Unfortunately, most Americans are completely unprepared for some sort of an emergency to strike.  In fact, a brand new survey has discovered that just 41 percent of Americans could cover a $1,000 emergency expense using their current savings…

Bankrate’s January Financial Security Index survey reveals that just four in 10 U.S. adults (41 percent) would cover the cost of a $1,000 car repair or emergency room visit using savings. The findings echo what previous Bankrate studies and others — including the Federal Reserve and the Pew Charitable Trusts — have found about Americans’ lack of rainy-day savings.

So where would everyone else get the money for an emergency?

Well, most of them would either borrow the money or get it from a relative.

And usually an emergency costs a lot more than $1,000.  Here is more from the Bankrate survey

Emergencies often aren’t cheap. Among survey respondents who said they or their family members dealt with an unexpected expense in the past 12 months, the median amount of the largest expense was $1,750.

Three in 10 adults (29 percent) said they or their family members spent at least $5,000 in the past year to cover an unanticipated cost.

The bottom line is that most of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, and most Americans are just one small step away from financial disaster.

Back in 2008, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because so many of them were living on the edge financially a lot of them suddenly couldn’t pay their mortgages.

You would think that we would have learned something from that very painful experience, but we didn’t.

So we better hope that the U.S. economy remains relatively stable, because a serious downturn would be very ugly.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of experts are warning that our luck is about to run out.  In fact, the head of the IMF recently warned that we could potentially be facing another “Great Depression”

The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economy risks a return of the Great Depression, driven by inequality and financial sector instability.

Speaking at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington, Kristalina Georgieva said new IMF research, which compares the current economy to the “roaring 1920s” that culminated in the great market crash of 1929, revealed that a similar trend was already under way.

That certainly doesn’t sound good at all.

Here in the United States, most people have been choosing to ignore all the signs that the economy is starting to really slow down.

But as stores and businesses continue to close down all over the nation, it is going to become very difficult to ignore all of the empty buildings.

For example, Macy’s just announced that they will be closing nearly 30 stores

Macy’s is closing roughly more than two dozen stores as troubles mount for the storied retailer.

The company confirmed to CNN Business that it’s shuttering 28 Macy’s locations and one Bloomingdale’s location in the coming months. Closures affect locations in several states, including Florida, California and Georgia, according to lists compiled from various media reports.

And one of the most prominent mall retailers in the entire country has just announced that they will be closing 91 stores

Fashion retailer Express plans to close 91 stores as part of a “fleet rationalization” after a sales slump during the holidays.

The move comes amid a rash of store closures following the holiday shopping season.

Of course I could go on and on all day.  Here are just a couple more examples of major retailers that are closing down stores

Bed Bath & Beyond is closing 60 locations, with the list being revealed Tuesday. And Schurman Retail Group plans to close its Papyrus and American Greetings stores, totaling about 254 locations, within the next four to six weeks.

But despite all of the evidence to the contrary, the irrational optimists would still have us believe that America has entered a new era of tremendous economic prosperity.

I actually wish that was true.

Sadly, decades of exceedingly bad decisions are catching up with us in a major way, and instead of changing course we continue to steamroll toward a date with destiny.

Right now I am going to share with you the number one piece of advice that I give to everyone who asks about preparing for the great storm that is ahead.

Build up a financial cushion.

When things get bad, you are going to need money.

I know that sounds exceedingly simple, but obviously most of the country is choosing not to do this.

Instead, most of the country is surviving from month to month with barely any money in their bank accounts, and so when disaster strikes they are going to be looking for someone else to rescue them.

We have had more than a decade since the crisis of 2008 to prepare for the next one, but most people are acting as if the next one will never arrive.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the next crisis has already started, and businesses all over the nation are going bankrupt.

But most Americans won’t realize what is happening until things really start getting out of hand, and by then it will be far too late to make any sort of preparations.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

A State Of Panic Hits The Globe As Cases Of China’s New Mystery Virus Rise Exponentially

This is already becoming the worst public health scare that we have seen in many years, and experts are warning that we are still in the very early chapters of this crisis.  Officials are fairly certain that the spread of this mysterious new coronavirus began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and as you will see below, measures are now being implemented to try to isolate that city from the rest of China.  But it is already too late, because cases have already been reported in other major Chinese cities, and the virus has also already traveled to a whole bunch of foreign countries via airplane.  Cases have been reported in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia and now there has even been one case in the United States.  It is being estimated that this virus has an incubation period of about a week, and so the truth is that countless others could be spreading it around right now without even realizing it.

There is so much that we still don’t know about this disease, but what we do know is that there were 48 confirmed cases on January 17th and now there are 440

Chinese officials have just held a press conference that was anything but the usual CDC “everything’s ok” statement. The particularly ominous warning that the virus is mutating and spreading is perhaps due to the poor handling of the SARS breakout in 2002/3 which was marked by cover-ups and official reluctance to share information.

Li Bin, vice head of China’s National Health Commission, confirmed there are 440 confirmed coronavirus cases in this new outbreak and there have been 9 deaths. Some 1,394 patients are under medical observation.

What this means is that the number of confirmed cases has gotten nine times higher in just four days.

Needless to say, this is creating a tremendous amount of panic.  In China, a lot of people are completely shying away from public places at this point…

“I don’t really dare to go to the airport right now, or even to the movie theater,” said Xie Jing, 33, who works in advertising in Shanghai, where there have been two confirmed cases of coronavirus. She canceled her planned trip home to Sichuan, where two cases are suspected.

“Everyone is being very careful at the moment in Shanghai. Everyone is wearing masks on the streets,” Xie said.

Sadly, the demand for masks is far greater than the supply, and some sellers have decided to make a quick profit by selling them “for more than 10 times their original price”

Several unscrupulous sellers who bought up masks en bulk are now managing to sell them for more than 10 times their original price. Some retailers were selling the masks for as much as 40 yuan ($7), a more than 10-fold mark-up. Users of Weibo, a Chinese social network similar to Twitter, warned anybody planning to travel to instead consider staying home, and repeatedly washing their hands.

According to certain sites that track prices of Chinese goods, the masks typically sell for 53 cents.

We haven’t seen this sort of panic since the days of the bird flu scare, and Chinese citizens are demanding action.

Unfortunately, there isn’t that much that can be done at this point.  Chinese officials are taking some steps to try to isolate Wuhan from the rest of the country, but many are skeptical that these measures will really make that much of a difference…

Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus was first detected, announced a series of new measures Tuesday, including the cancellation of upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations, which had been expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people.

Tour agencies have been banned from taking groups out of Wuhan and the number of thermal monitors and screening areas in public spaces will be increased. Traffic police will also conduct spot checks on private vehicles coming in and out of the city to look for live poultry or wild animals, after the virus was linked to a seafood and live animal market, according to a report by state media outlet the People’s Daily, citing Wuhan’s Municipal Health Commission.

There are about 11 million people living in and around Wuhan.  Cancelling a few events and performing sporadic “spot checks” is not going to keep this virus from spreading.

And of course the fact that this virus has already spread to a bunch of other countries is really alarming officials all over the globe.  North Korea has already “closed its borders to foreign tourists”, and other nations may soon follow suit.

In addition, airports all over the world are stepping up their screening efforts

Authorities in several countries, including Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan have stepped up screening of air passengers from Wuhan. US authorities last week announced similar measures at airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. They have now announced plans to introduce similar measures at airports in Chicago and Atlanta this week.

Unfortunately, this virus has already arrived in the United States via airplane.  A resident of Washington state brought it back from China on January 15th, and he didn’t contact a health professional until January 19th

U.S. officials said the man, a resident of Snohomish County, Wash., returned Jan. 15 from a trip to the region around Wuhan. Shortly after arriving at Seattle’s international airport, he began feeling ill and reached out to his health-care provider on Sunday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Monday the man had the coronavirus – which has sickened more than 400 people in China and others in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

During the intervening days, how many others caught this virus from that particular individual?

And are they now spreading it to those that they are interacting with?

According to the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, “we should expect to see additional cases in the U.S. and certainly around the world” in the days ahead.

In other words, you better buckle up because this crisis is going to get worse.

2020 was already promising to be a major turning point, and now we potentially have a very serious worldwide health crisis to contend with.

Global events are really starting to accelerate, and I have a feeling that a whole lot more drama is on the way.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

The Mainstream Media Admits We Are In “An Auto Recession” – And It Just Continues To Get Worse

Quite a few of the most important sectors of the global economy are already “in a recession”, and yet somehow we are still supposed to believe that the economic outlook for the rest of 2020 is a positive one.  I am not buying it, and I know that a lot of other people aren’t buying it either.  The global economic slowdown that began last year is really picking up pace here in early 2020, and global financial markets are perfectly primed for a meltdown of epic proportions.  Unfortunately, most people simply do not understand how badly the global economy has been deteriorating.  For example, global auto sales have now fallen for two years in a row, and even CNN is admitting that the global auto industry has been in a “recession” for some time…

The global auto industry plunged deeper into recession in 2019, with sales dropping more than 4% as carmakers struggled to find buyers in China and India. The pain is likely to continue this year.

The number of vehicles sold across major global markets dipped to 90.3 million last year, according to analysts at LMC Automotive. That’s down from 94.4 million in 2018, and well below the record 95.2 million cars sold in 2017.

Here in the United States, people keep trying to tell us that the economy is in good shape, but last year auto sales fell here too

Nonseasonally adjusted passenger car sales in the U.S. for 2019 declined 10.9% to 4.7 million units, versus 5.3 million units in 2018, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

Sales of trucks, minivans and SUVs for the year totaled 12.2 million units, up 2.8% from the 2018 figure of 11.9 million units.

The overall nonseasonally adjusted U.S. vehicle sales for the period fell 1.4% to 17.0 million units, versus 17.2 million units a year ago.

Very few analysts are expecting these trends to turn around in 2020.

And considering how important the auto industry is to the global economy as a whole, that has very serious implications for all of us

Recession comes with big ramifications for the global economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, the car industry accounts for 5.7% of economic output and 8% of goods exports. It is the second largest consumer of steel and aluminum.

Meanwhile, we are experiencing a very deep transportation recession in the United States as well.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

Shipment volume in the US by truck, rail, air, and barge plunged 7.9% in December 2019 compared to a year earlier, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments. It was the 13th month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the steepest year-over-year decline since November 2009, during the Financial Crisis

How in the world can the U.S. economy possibly be in “good shape” with absolutely horrific numbers like that?

When the amount of goods being shipped around the country by truck, rail and air is steadily falling, that is a crystal clear indication that economic conditions are slowing down.

And one of the biggest reasons why a transportation recession is upon us is because it looks like we are in a “manufacturing recession” too.

In fact, the manufacturing numbers for December were simply abysmal

US manufacturing took a turn from lousy to worse in December, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business, released today, with employment, new orders and new export orders, production, backlog of orders, and inventories all contracting.

The overall Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) dropped 0.9 percentage points from November to 47.2% in December 2019, the fifth month in a row of contraction, and the fastest contraction since June 2009.

Overall, 2019 was the worst year for U.S. industrial production since 2015.

Across the Atlantic, things are even worse in Europe.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

The manufacturing downturn across Europe deepened in the last month of 2019 according to the latest survey data released on Thursday.

IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI lost momentum last month, printing at 46.3, down from 46.9 in November, if modestly above the 45.9 expected. The PMI averaged 46.4 in 4Q, a seven-year low.

When will global authorities finally admit that we have a real problem on our hands?

How much worse do the numbers have to get?

This month, the Baltic Dry Index has been plunging dramatically.  For those that don’t know, the Baltic Dry Index is a key indicator of where global trade is heading, and on Monday it plummeted to a nine-month low

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index hit a nine-month low on Monday, dragged down by falling rates of capesize and panamax segments as world trade continues to slump.

The Baltic Dry Index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities across the world, dropped 25 points, or 3.3%, to 729 (according to Refinitiv data), the lowest level since April 2019

This is not what a healthy global economy looks like.

Of course many of those in positions of authority will continue to insist that everything is just fine for as long as possible.

In fact, back in 2008 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke kept telling us that a recession wasn’t going to happen even after the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression had already started.

Just like back then, all of the hard economic numbers that we have are all saying the same thing.

Both the U.S. economy and the global economy as a whole have been slowing down for quite a while, and it looks like big trouble is ahead of us.

That means that now is not the time to be spending lots of money, making big financial commitments or going into debt.

Those that are wise will be positioning themselves to survive the coming economic storm, but unfortunately most people are paying no heed to the warning signs.

Just like last time around, most people have tremendous faith in the system, and so they will be absolutely blindsided by the crisis that is coming.

In the end, multitudes will be expecting the government to bail them out somehow, but considering the fact that we are already 23 trillion dollars in debt that simply is not going to be possible.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

The Biggest Stock Market “Melt Up” In U.S. History Has Pushed Stock Prices To The More Overvalued Levels Ever

Over the past several months, we have witnessed one of the greatest stock market rallies in American history.  The S&P 500 has gone 70 days in a row without a 1 percent loss, and most weeks we have seen one daily surge after another.  If stock prices were exploding because the underlying U.S. economy was performing extremely well, we would have reason to celebrate.  Unfortunately, that is not the case at all.  In fact, last week I shared 12 signs that the economy is actually slowing down substantially.  Instead, this stock market “melt up” is being largely fueled by reckless intervention by the Federal Reserve.  The Fed’s balance sheet has been ballooning once again, and investors know that stock prices tend to go up significantly when that is happening.  So right now Wall Street is in the midst of a raucous party, and everything will be wonderful as long as stock prices continue to move in the right direction.

Unfortunately, no stock market rally lasts forever, and a day of reckoning is coming.  At this point, stock prices have become so absurd that even the New York Times is saying that we should “worry” about what is ahead.

We also witnessed dramatic stock market “melt ups” prior to the stock market crash of 1929, prior to the bursting of the dotcom bubble, and prior to the financial crisis of 2008.

If you are not familiar with the term “melt up”, here is a pretty good definition from Investopedia

A melt up is a dramatic and unexpected improvement in the investment performance of an asset class, driven partly by a stampede of investors who don’t want to miss out on its rise, rather than by fundamental improvements in the economy. Gains that a melt up creates are considered to be unreliable indications of the direction the market is ultimately headed. Melt ups often precede melt downs.

That definition accurately describes what we are witnessing on Wall Street right now.  There has been so much euphoria, and of course many of the wild-eyed optimists seem to think that it can last indefinitely.

But how much higher can stock prices possibly go?  After all, they are already the most overvalued that they have ever been in all of U.S. history.

A very simple way to judge whether stock prices are overvalued or undervalued is to look at the price-to-sales ratio for the S&P 500 as a whole.  During the best of times, it should be somewhere between 1.0 and 1.5, but thanks to the absurd rally that Wall Street has been enjoying the price-to-sales ratio for the S&P 500 has now been pushed above 2.4.  If you would like to see what this looks like for yourself, just check out this chart from Zero Hedge.

Stock prices should have never, ever gotten to this point without sufficient underlying sales to justify such high valuations.  If the S&P 500 were to fall 50 percent from the current level, that would put us at a point that is relatively “normal” for good economic times.

But of course our financial markets would not be able to handle a 50 percent decline in stock prices because the system is so highly leveraged.  It would be a disaster unlike anything we have seen before, and so the Federal Reserve feels as though there is no other alternative other than to continue to pump up this absolutely absurd bubble.

Another very simple indicator that shows that stocks are now more overvalued than ever before is “the Buffett Indicator”.  As Harry Dent has pointed out, the ratio of total market capitalization to U.S. GDP has never been higher than it is currently.  You can see this for yourself by looking at this chart.  The stock market would have to fall by a third just to get back to the ridiculous level we witnessed just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.  We truly are in unprecedented territory, and every other stock market bubble of this nature in our entire history has ended very, very badly.

If you want to blame someone for getting us into such a precarious position, you should blame the Federal Reserve.  And at this point, even Fed officials are acknowledging what is going on.  For example, just check out what Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan recently said

It was at the very least, a little refreshing to hear Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan openly talked about this in an interview Wednesday. Although he did couch it in terms that implied it was a matter of some concern to him. But, of course, he went on to say, “we’ve done what we need to do up until now.”

“My own view is it’s having some effect on risk assets,” Kaplan said. “It’s a derivative of QE when we buy bills and we inject more liquidity; it affects risk assets. This is why I say growth in the balance sheet is not free. There is a cost to it.”

The Fed is desperately trying to keep control of interest rates, but in the process they are creating ideal conditions for a stock market crash.

As 2019 rolled to an end, even Wolf Richter admitted that “there has never been a better setup” for a major market meltdown…

In my decades of looking at the stock market, there has never been a better setup. Exuberance is pandemic and sky-high. And even after today’s dip, the S&P 500 is up nearly 29% for the year, and the Nasdaq 35%, despite lackluster growth in the global economy, where many of the S&P 500 companies are getting the majority of their revenues.

Mega-weight in the indices, Apple, is a good example: shares soared 84% in the year, though its revenues ticked up only 2%. This is not a growth story. This is an exuberance story where nothing that happens in reality – such as lacking revenue growth – matters, as we’re now told by enthusiastic crowds everywhere.

Meanwhile, the real economy has just continued to deteriorate.

While stock prices were soaring in December, U.S. freight volume was actually plummeting

Shipment volume in the US by truck, rail, air, and barge plunged 7.9% in December 2019 compared to a year earlier, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments. It was the 13th month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the steepest year-over-year decline since November 2009, during the Financial Crisis

As I have warned so many times, stock prices have become completely divorced from economic reality, and this is setting us up for a major financial crisis.

But for the moment, the party continues to roll on and the wild-eyes optimists are telling us that this is just the beginning of a golden new age of prosperity.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

The Mysterious New “SARS-Like Virus” That Is Killing People In China Has Now Spread To Japan

On top of everything else that has happened so far in 2020, a very mysterious “SARS-like virus” that doctors have never seen before is causing grave concern among global health officials.  It has been identified as “a coronavirus”, but that category covers a very broad range of illnesses.  If you have a common cold right now, it was caused by a coronavirus.  But SARS and MERS also came from the same virus family, and those two outbreaks made headlines all over the world.  In 2002 and 2003, SARS infected more than 8,000 people worldwide, and more than 700 of them ended up dying.  Global health officials are hoping that what we are now facing won’t be any worse than that, but at this point they just don’t know enough about this mysterious new virus to make any firm projections.

What we do know is that this outbreak just started, and China has just announced that this virus has claimed a second life.  The following comes from the BBC

A second person has died in China from a new, pneumonia-like virus, local officials have announced.

They say the death was recorded in the eastern city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began in December.

And we also know that there have been at least two cases where people have transported the virus outside of China via airplane.

The first case happened earlier this week when a woman flew from China to Thailand

The new virus, known for now as 2019-nCoV, was first identified on Jan. 7, about a week after officials first reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, WHO said.

Recently, officials reported the first “exported” case of the virus in Thailand. In that case, a resident of Wuhan got on a direct flight to Thailand along with several members of her family and a tour group, according to WHO. When the 61-year-old woman arrived at the airport, she was found to have a fever, and she was taken to the hospital where she tested positive for 2019-nCoV.

Subsequently, on Thursday we learned that a man that flew from China to Japan had also contracted the virus.  The following comes from Time Magazine

Japan’s government said Thursday a man treated for pneumonia after returning from China has tested positive for the new coronavirus identified as a possible cause of an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The man developed a fever and coughs on Jan. 3 while in Wuhan, returned to Japan on Jan. 6, and was hospitalized four days later due to persistent coughs and fever, with his X-ray image showing signs of pneumonia, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.

At first, global health officials were greatly downplaying the possibility of human-to-human transmission.

But now even the World Health Organization has been forced to admit that “limited human-to-human transmission” may be happening…

There may have been limited human-to-human transmission of a new coronavirus in China within families, and it is possible there could be a wider outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

In other words, the evidence has forced them to change their tune, but they are still trying to not alarm the general public too much.

Unfortunately, the truth is that this outbreak is still very new, they have never seen this virus before, and they are still trying to figure out exactly how dangerous it is.

Hopefully this is not going to develop into a major pandemic.  Without a doubt, it is certainly possible that this whole thing could fizzle out even faster than the bird flu scare did.

But let us not forget that a horrific pandemic about 100 years ago killed between 50 million and 100 million people.  The following comes from Wikipedia

The 1918 influenza pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920; colloquially known as Spanish flu) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus.[1] It infected 500 million people around the world,[2] including people on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic. Probably 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million (three to five percent of Earth’s population at the time) died, making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.[3][4][5]

Bill Gates has identified pandemics as one of the three greatest threats that humanity is facing, and he says that we are woefully unprepared if one were to break out today.

In fact, he says that we should be preparing for one right now as if we were preparing for war

“In the case of biological threats, that sense of urgency is lacking,” Gates said in a 2018 presentation hosted by the New England Journal of Medicine. “The world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war.”

Sadly, authorities will probably never make preparation a true priority until a major pandemic has already begun.

The symptoms of this new mystery virus include congestion, headache, cough and fever.

Of course those exact same symptoms are associated with the common cold.

If you have shortness of breath, chills or body aches in addition to the other symptoms, that could be an indication that you should get checked out.

But there have been no reports of this virus reaching the United States yet, and hopefully we won’t see that happen at all.

For the Chinese, this outbreak comes at a particularly bad time, because their Lunar New Year celebration is on January 25th.  Hundreds of millions of people will be traveling around China, and that could potentially accelerate the spread of the virus.

It may have been prudent for Chinese officials to completely cancel all of the festivities, but at this point there are absolutely no plans to do that.

So we will watch and see what happens.  If this particular virus doesn’t become a pandemic, scientists assure us that it is only a matter of time before some other virus does.  And considering the hour in which we live, we are certainly very vulnerable to a potential pandemic right now.

Once again, I want to stress that there is no need for people in the U.S. to start freaking out about this virus just yet.  Only two people have died, and there have been no reported cases in the U.S. so far.

But as we have seen in the past, global air travel can spread a virus around the world very quickly, and authorities are still trying to figure out how dangerous this new mystery disease really is.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

7 Major Earth Changes That Are Happening Right Now That Everyone Needs To Know About

There has never been a time in modern human history when our planet has been changing as rapidly as it is changing right now.  The sun is behaving very strangely, freakishly cold weather is breaking out all over the world, ocean temperatures continue to rise, volcanoes all over the globe are shooting ash miles into the air, Australia is experiencing the worst wildfires that they have ever seen, and the north magnetic pole has been moving at a pace that is deeply alarming scientists.  Could it be possible that all of this bizarre activity is leading up to some sort of a crescendo?

Sadly, most people don’t even realize what is happening, and that is because the mainstream media only emphasizes stories that fit with the particular narratives that they are currently pushing.

But it has gotten to the point where nobody can deny that really weird things are happening.  The following are 7 major earth changes that are happening right now that everyone needs to know about…

#1 According to NASA, solar activity has dropped to the lowest level in 200 years.  The following comes from the official NASA website

The forecast for the next solar cycle says it will be the weakest of the last 200 years. The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot number, a standard measure of solar activity level – could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one. The results show that the next cycle will start in 2020 and reach its maximum in 2025.

Of course NASA insists that everything will be just fine, but others are wondering if this lack of solar activity could potentially spawn another “Little Ice Age”

When solar activity gets really low, it can have the effect of a “mini ice age.” The period between 1645 and 1715 was marked by a prolonged sunspot minimum, and this corresponded to a downturn in temperatures in Europe and North America. Named after astronomers Edward Maunder and his wife Annie Russell Maunder, this period became known as the Maunder Minimum. It is also known as “The Little Ice Age.”

#2 When solar activity gets very low, it has traditionally meant very cold and very snowy winters, and right now we are seeing snow in places that are extremely unusual

The Egyptian capital, Cairo, was also turned white at the start of the month, despite the city not having snow in 112 years, and experiencing less than an inch of rain each year.

Many parts of Greece were covered in snow in early January, with low temperatures and strong frost.

The cold front named ‘Hephaestion’, after an Ancient Greek army general, thrashed the Greek landscape, bringing rain, sleet and ice in the east.

#3 Meanwhile, the oceans of the world just keep getting hotter and hotter.  In fact, ocean temperatures off the California coast have been setting new all-time record highs.  It is odd that this is taking place at a time of such low solar activity, but according to NBC News this is definitely happening…

The world’s oceans hit their warmest level in recorded history in 2019, according to a study published Monday that provides more evidence that Earth is warming at an accelerated pace.

The analysis, which also found that ocean temperatures in the last decade have been the warmest on record, shows the impact of human-caused warming on the planet’s oceans and suggests that sea-level rise, ocean acidification and extreme weather events could worsen as the oceans continue to absorb so much heat.

#4 There have always been wildfires, but we have never seen anything like this.  During the summer, countless catastrophic fires burned millions upon millions of acres in the Amazon rainforest, and this winter Australia’s fires have actually been a total of 46 percent larger than the fires that we witnessed in the Amazon.  Australia has never seen anything like this before, and according to NASA the smoke from these fires will completely circle the Earth

Once was bad enough, but smoke from Australia’s devastating bushfires is set to return to the country to complete a round-the-world trip that has seen it impact on air quality as far away as South America.

By Jan. 8, the smoke had made its way halfway around the world and will make at least one full circuit, according to scientists at NASA, citing satellite tracking data. New Zealand experienced severe air quality issues, while hazy skies and colorful sunsets and sunrises were seen in parts of Chile and Argentina.

#5 During the first half of 2020, volcanoes all over the world have been roaring to life and have been shooting giant clouds of hot ash miles into the sky.  For example, in the Philippines the Taal volcano shot ash nine miles into the air on Sunday, it has also been shooting scorching hot lava half a mile into the air, and the ground around the volcano is starting to crack wide open.

But even after all the devastation that we have already seen, authorities are warning that it could “re-explode at any moment”

The gray ash is knee-deep. It covers the homes, the bloated cadavers of cows and horses, their limbs protruding at unnatural angles in the shadow of a sulking volcano that could re-explode at any moment.

“My home is now gone,” said Melvin Mendoza, 39, a boatman who returned on Tuesday to Taal, the volcanic island in the middle of a freshwater lake just 40 miles south of Manila, which erupted on Sunday like an atomic bomb mushroom cloud.

Let us hope that this volcanic activity does not spread throughout that general area, because the largest super volcano caldera in the entire world has been discovered not too far from the Philippines

A team including members from GNS Science have identified an ancient mega-volcano that could have the largest known caldera on Earth.

The 150km (93.2 miles) wide feature is on the crest of Benham Rise, an oceanic plateau off the Philippines coast. In comparison, the caldera at Taupō is about 35km (21.8 miles) wide, and that at Yellowstone about 60km (37.3 miles).

#6 All of this is taking place while the north magnetic pole is moving toward Russia at a very rapid pace.  The following comes from CNN

The north magnetic pole has been slowly moving across the Canadian Arctic toward Russia since 1831, but its swift pace toward Siberia in recent years at a rate of around 34 miles per year has forced scientists to update the World Magnetic Model — used by civilian navigation systems, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and US and British militaries — a year ahead of schedule.

#7 On top of everything else, the Earth’s magnetic field has been steadily weakening over time, and this has some experts extremely concerned

In a forum on Quora, science fiction writer and journalist C Stuart Hardwick revealed that satellite data, such as those collected by the European Space Agency’s SWARM mission, revealed that the magnetic field has been weakening for about 5 percent each century. He noted that currently, the strength of the magnetic field is at 29.5 microteslas, which is 14 percent weaker than its previous state three centuries ago. According to Hardwick, the SWARM satellites detected increased deterioration within regions of the magnetic field over North America. He said these regions weakened by about 3.5 percent over the span of just three years.

Without our magnetic field, life on Earth could not exist for long.

And it doesn’t have to disappear completely to be a massive problem.  If it simply gets weak enough, dwelling on the surface is going to become exceedingly difficult.

As I keep warning, our planet is becoming increasing unstable, and what we have experienced so far is just the beginning.

The demands of life can often cause us to focus on things that don’t really matter.  Hopefully we can get more people to wake up while there is still time, because the clock is ticking for humanity and for our planet as a whole.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

The Robots Are Coming, And They Are Going To Take Over Millions Of Jobs

When we get to a point where literally just about everything can be done more cheaply and more efficiently by robots, the elite won’t have any use for the rest of us at all.  For most of human history, the wealthy have needed the poor to do the work that is necessary to run their businesses and make them even wealthier.  In this day and age we like to call ourselves “employees”, but in reality we are their servants.  Some of us may be more well paid than others, but the vast majority of us are expending our best years serving their enterprises so that we can pay the bills.  Unfortunately, that paradigm is rapidly changing, and many of the jobs that humans are doing today will be done by robots in the not too distant future.  In fact, millions of human workers have already been displaced, and as you will see below experts are warning that the job losses are likely to greatly accelerate in the years to come.

Competition with technology is one of the reasons why wage growth has been so stagnant over the past couple of decades.  The only way it makes sense for an employer to hire you is if you can do a job less expensively than some form of technology can do it.

As a result, close to two-thirds of the jobs that have been created in the United States over the past couple of decades have been low wage jobs, and the middle class is being steadily hollowed out.

But as robots continue to become cheaper and more efficient, even our lowest paying jobs will be vanishing in enormous numbers.

For example, it is being reported that executives at Walmart plan to greatly increase the size of their “robot army”…

Walmart Inc.’s robot army is growing. The world’s largest retailer will add shelf-scanning robots to 650 more U.S. stores by the end of the summer, bringing its fleet to 1,000. The six-foot-tall Bossa Nova devices, equipped with 15 cameras each, roam aisles and send alerts to store employees’ handheld devices when items are out of stock, helping to solve a vexing problem that costs retailers nearly a trillion dollars annually, according to researcher IHL Group.

In addition to scanning shelves, Walmart already has a whole host of robots doing such things as scrubbing floors, unloading trucks and gathering grocery orders

The new robots, designed by San Francisco-based Bossa Nova Robotics Inc., join the ranks of Walmart’s increasingly automated workforce which also includes devices to scrub floors, unload trucks and gather online-grocery orders.

Meanwhile, Walmart has been testing “a new employee structure” which is intended to “cut down the size of its store management staff”

Walmart is testing out a new employee structure within its stores in an attempt to cut down the size of its store management staff.

The nation’s biggest employer is looking to see if it can have fewer midlevel store managers overseeing workers, with these managers seeing both their responsibilities and their pay increase.

So the employees that survive will get a “pay increase” to go with a huge increase in responsibility, but what about all the others that are having their jobs eliminated?

Don’t worry, because in an interview about this new initiative one Walmart executive assured us that their employees “like smaller teams”

“Associates like smaller teams, and they like having a connection with a leader. They want something they can own and to know if they are winning or losing every day. And today that does not always happen,” Drew Holler, U.S. senior vice president of associate experience, said in an interview.

Today, Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the United States by a wide margin.

But these coming changes will ultimately mean a lot more robot workers and a lot less human workers.

Of course countless other heartless corporations are implementing similar measures.  And considering the fact that one recent survey found that 97 percent of U.S. CFOs believe that a recession is coming in 2020, we are likely to see a “thinning of the ranks” in company after company as this year rolls along.

Sadly, even if there was no economic downturn coming we would continue to lose jobs to robots.  According to one study, a whopping 45 percent of our current jobs “can be automated”…

Here’s the truth: Robots are already starting to take jobs from hourly human workers, and it’s going to continue. Research from McKinsey found that 45% of current jobs can be automated. We need to stop avoiding the situation and create real solutions to help displaced workers.

In this day and age, no worker is safe.

I know someone that gave his heart and soul to a big corporation for many years, and then one day he was called into the office when he arrived for work and he was out of a job by lunch.

He hadn’t done anything wrong at all.  It is just that his heartless corporate bosses had decided to eliminate his position throughout the entire company.

If you think that they actually care about you, then you are just fooling yourself.

Unfortunately, the job losses are just going to keep accelerating.  In fact, it is being projected that approximately 20 million manufacturing jobs around the globe could be taken over by robots by the year 2030

Robots could take over 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world by 2030, economists claimed Wednesday.

According to a new study from Oxford Economics, within the next 11 years there could be 14 million robots put to work in China alone.

And as wealthy executives lay off low wage workers in staggering numbers, that will make the growing gap between the rich and the poor even worse

“As a result of robotization, tens of millions of jobs will be lost, especially in poorer local economies that rely on lower-skilled workers. This will therefore translate to an increase in income inequality,” the study’s authors said.

The good news is that the full extent of this ominous scenario is not likely to completely play out.  The bad news is that this is because our society is rapidly moving toward complete and utter collapse.

I wish that there was an easy solution to this growing problem.

In a free market system, should anyone be trying to mandate that employers must hire human workers?

But if millions upon millions of men and women can’t feed their families because they don’t have jobs, that will create the sort of social nightmare that we cannot even imagine right now.

This is something that all of the 2020 presidential candidates should be talking about, because this is a crisis that is spinning out of control, and it is getting worse with each passing day.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

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