Record Temperatures, Long Lines And Increasing Scarcity Will Greatly Test The Patience Of Americans This Summer

This is going to be a long, hot summer that none of us is likely to forget any time soon.  Coming into this year, we knew that societal tensions would be running high because 2020 is an election year.  Many are convinced that this is the most important election in modern American history, and I expect for there to be some extremely shocking surprises as we draw closer to November.  Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to surge to new heights, and the restrictions that authorities have instituted to fight this pandemic have created a huge backlash.  So many people have such extreme emotions about COVID-19, and unfortunately it appears that this crisis is not going away any time soon.  Of course the civil unrest that erupted in the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd took societal tensions to an entirely new level that we have never seen before.  There was rioting, looting and violence all over the nation, and more chaos could literally break out at any moment.

So to say that our national mood is “fragile” right now would be a major understatement.  I have never seen so much anger and frustration in this country in my entire lifetime, tens of millions of Americans have already lost their jobs, and a lot of people are not even able to pay their most basic bills at this point.  In fact, one recent survey found that nearly a third of all Americans have not even made “their full housing payments for July”

As the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues, almost one-third of U.S. households, 32%, have not made their full housing payments for July yet, according to a survey by Apartment List, an online rental platform.

And now, on top of everything else, here comes the heat.

On Sunday, high temperatures were above 100 degrees all over the western half of the country

Heat alerts are in effect from California to Alabama as high temperatures will be 10-15 degrees above average on Sunday.

Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson will all see high temperatures of at least 110 degrees, and all three are likely to tie or break their daily record high temperatures. In Texas, cities including Dallas, San Antonio, and Lubbock will all exceed 100 degrees.

Unfortunately, Sunday is just the beginning.  A “heat dome” has formed over the middle of the country, and that is likely to mean high temperatures of 90 degrees or greater for approximately 80 percent of the nation “for the next few weeks”

A PERFECT STORM of crises is forming across the United States. Above our heads, a “heat dome” of high pressure could blast 80 percent of the continental US with temperatures over 90 degrees for the next few weeks. This coming in a summer when the Covid-19 lockdown has trapped people indoors, many without air-conditioning—and mass unemployment may mean that residents with AC units can’t afford to run them.

Needless to say, this is not coming at a good time.  Crime rates are absolutely soaring and the streets of many of our major cities already resemble war zones.

And during these very hot summer months, many Americans will have to wait in exceedingly long lines for one reason or another.  I have written numerous articles about the massive lines that we have seen at food banks around the country, and lines at COVID-19 testing sites have gotten extremely long as well

Food banks in Vermont and Arizona have miles-long queues of cars. At testing sites in Florida, motorists show up with full gas tanks to keep air conditioning pumping all day. Travel to Europe is off, with America waiting behind other nations to re-enter someday. Even the electronic realm is tied up: Amid 11% unemployment, people applying for benefits report frozen computer screens and abrupt phone disconnections. Sometimes, the reward waiting at the end is simply a chance to try again tomorrow.

I couldn’t imagine waiting “all day” to get tested for COVID-19, but apparently there are a lot of people that are so desperate to get tested that they are willing to do this.

On top of everything else, a wide variety of products are becoming increasingly scarce at our local grocery stores.

This isn’t a major national crisis yet, but you may have noticed that your local grocery store is having a much more difficult time keeping certain products in stock than usual.  This is happening because COVID-19 and the accompanying economic slowdown have created serious problems for many key supply chains.

Tony Koretz is the host of “A Minute To Midnite”, and he is also a really good guy that I know personally.  Just a few days ago he received an email from “a supply chain analyst for a large grocery chain”, and what this supply chain analyst had to share was extremely chilling.  The following is a short excerpt from that email

— the meeting of store demand — which is a proxy for actual consumer demand — from company-owned central warehouses has steadily declined over the last 4 months; from a 98% pre-COVID fulfillment rate to 58% as of yesterday.  Key point:  STEADY decline; yes some blips upward from time to time, but overall steady decline to be sure

— what this impacts is the presentation on the shelves; for example:  do we have some or no toilet paper, tomato paste, rice and noodles, etc., etc.; you will also see new and unknown brands coming in to substitute for a product, but that is only going to be a temporary stop-gap as these are from 2nd and 3rd tier vendors who may not carry as much clout in getting their own raw-material supply chains filled…these too will dry up and go away over the next 3-6 months (not to mention the effect of absenteeism in their own ranks, leading to an inability to produce said 2nd/3rd tier products)…

— there is also a trend to see less variations on products; for example, we only have 3 variations on tomato paste to put on shelves as-opposed to the 15 we had pre-COVID

— to the folks in the industry, this is known as the presentation and the service level at the shelf in the store; service levels on some harder-hit commodities are near 10% at-best, averaging in the 70% level on an aggregate across all stores/commodities when you carve-out bath tissue, paper towels, baby wipes, disinfectant wipes;  comparatively during pre-COVID service levels were in the very high 90’s for all products (sans SEASONAL)…

— Additional contributing factors:  in addition to waning vendor fulfilment, we are also seeing more-and-more absenteeism in our warehouses due to COVID cases, fear, exhaustion.

You can read the rest of the email right here.  Of course none of this information should surprise us, because it is obvious that grocery stores are having a very difficult time keeping their shelves stocked.  But getting this sort of inside information does help us to understand exactly why it is happening.

If you are anticipating that the end of this year and the beginning of next year will be chaotic, the next couple of months will be your best chance to get stocked up.

My suggestion would be to take advantage of this window of opportunity while we have it.

America has entered a time of great upheaval, and much of the country is simply not going to be able to handle the major national nightmares that are ahead of us.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Job Losses, Bankruptcies And Store Closings Are All At Apocalyptic Levels As The U.S. Economic Collapse Rolls On

The last four months have been an unending nightmare for the U.S. economy.  Businesses are shutting down at a pace that we have never seen before in American history, the “retail apocalypse” has reached an entirely new level that none of the experts were anticipating prior to this pandemic, and we are in the midst of the greatest spike in unemployment that the United States has ever experienced.  On Thursday, we learned that another 1.3 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, and that number has now been above one million for 16 consecutive weeks.  Things were supposed to be “getting back to normal” by now, buy that hasn’t happened.  Instead, we continue to see a tsunami of job losses that is absolutely unprecedented in American history.

When we look back at the old peaks for unemployment claims, they almost seem laughable compared to what we are experiencing now…

The highest prior weekly total for new unemployment claims was 695,000, in October 1982, according to Labor Department data. During the Great Recession, the country’s last downturn, weekly claims peaked at 665,000, in March 2009.

For those that aren’t old enough to remember, the recession of the early 1980s and the recession of 2008 and 2009 were both really, really painful.

But of course they weren’t anything like this.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that the numbers have gotten so bad.  According to Wolf Richter, the number of continuing claims that were filed last week under all state and federal unemployment programs is the highest that we have ever seen…

The total number of people who continued to claim unemployment compensation in the week ended July 4 under all state and federal unemployment insurance programs, including gig workers, jumped by 1.41 million people, to 32.92 million (not seasonally adjusted), the Department of Labor reported this morning. It was the highest and most gut-wrenching level ever.

The number of people who continue to receive state unemployment insurance (blue columns) has been ticking down, as more people got their jobs back than newly unemployed flooded the state unemployment systems. But the number of people claiming federal unemployment insurance, including gig workers under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, continues to surge (red columns), which causes the total number of people claiming unemployment benefits under all programs to rise

Up to this point, the emergency measures that Congress put in place to help unemployed workers have definitely eased the pain for millions upon millions of people that have lost their jobs, but a number of those emergency measures are about to expire

Several benefits were developed in March to help ease the financial strains on Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Those are set to come to an end before July 31, which could impact 20 million Americans, MarketWatch reports. The CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27 by President Donald Trump, provided benefits like enhanced unemployment payments to supplement lost income from layoffs. It also includes a clause to delay evictions for 120 days.

Of course Congress could choose to extend some or all of the elements in the CARES Act, but that would mean borrowing and spending more giant mountains of money that we do not currently have.

Meanwhile, we are seeing businesses fail at a rate that is absolutely staggering.

According to the Washington Post, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently closed their doors during this pandemic, and Bloomberg just posted an article about 110 major companies that have declared bankruptcy here in 2020…

Retailers, airlines, restaurants. But also sports leagues, a cannabis company and an archdiocese plagued by sex-abuse allegations. These are some of the more than 110 companies that declared bankruptcy in the U.S. this year and blamed Covid-19 in part for their demise.

Sadly, the bankruptcy announcements just keep on coming.

This week, we learned that Brooks Brothers has filed for bankruptcy protection

The coronavirus pandemic has now claimed one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious retailers.

Brooks Brothers — pioneer of the polo and uniform of the polished prepster — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection from creditors on Wednesday, as it continues to search for a buyer.

That hit me particularly hard, because I have had Brooks Brothers shirts in my closet ever since I was a young man.

They have always made great products, and I just assumed that they would always be around.

Of course lots of other iconic retailers are failing as well.  Before too long, naming the major retailers that are still operating successfully may be easier than trying to name the vast number of major retailers that have gone belly up.

Store closings are happening fast and furious these days, and that isn’t likely to change any time soon.  Starbucks just announced that they will be closing 400 locations, Dunkin’ Donuts just announced that they will be closing 450 locations, and Bed Bath & Beyond has increased the number of stores that they will be closing to approximately 200

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) announced Wednesday that it plans to close roughly 200 stores in the next two years.

The retail chain — which also operates Buybuy Baby, Christmas Tree Shops and Harmon Face Values — said it would be mainly closing Bed Bath & Beyond stores, starting later this year. The announcement came as the company released its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday.

If you are still not convinced that the retail industry is facing an unprecedented cataclysm, I think that the following list will do the trick.

Forbes has been tracking the major store closing announcements of 2020, and their list was recently shared by Zero Hedge

Forbes’ Store Closure List In 2020

Chuck E Cheese: 54 U.S. stores (bankruptcy)

Destination Maternity: 90 stores (bankruptcy)

GNC: 1,200 stores (bankruptcy)

J. Crew: 54 stores (bankruptcy)

JCPenney JCP: 154 stores (bankruptcy)

K-Mart: 45 stores (bankruptcy)

Modell’s Sporting Goods: 153 stores (bankruptcy)

Neiman Marcus (Last Call): 20 stores (bankruptcy)

Papyrus: 254 stores (bankruptcy)

Pier 1 Imports PIR: 936 stores (bankruptcy)

Sears: 51 stores (bankruptcy)

Signet Jewelers SIG: 232 stores

Stage Stores: 738 stores (liquidating)

Tuesday Morning: 230 stores (bankruptcy)

***

AC Moore: 145 stores

Art Van Furniture: 190 stores

AT&T: 250 stores

Bath & Body Works: 50 stores

Bed Bath & Beyond: 44 stores

Bloomingdale’s: 1 store

Bose: 11 stores

Chico: 100 stores (estimated)

Children’s Place: 200 stores

Christopher Banks: 30-40 stores

CVS Pharmacy: 22 stores

Earth Fare: 50 stores

Express: 66 stories

Forever 21: 15 stores (estimated)

GameStop GME: 320 stores

Gap: 230 stores

Guess: 100 stores

Hallmark: 16 stores

Lord & Taylor: 30 or 40 stores

Lowe’s Canada: 34 stores

Lucky Market: 32 stores

Macy’s M: 125 stores (over 3 years)

Microsoft: 77 stores

New York & Co: 27 stores

Nordstrom: 16 stores

Office Depot: 90 stores

Olympia Sports: 76 stores

Party City: 21 stores

Starbucks SBUX: 400 stores (over 18 months)

Victoria’s Secret: 250 stores

Walgreen: 100 stores (estimated)

Walmart: 2 stores

Wilson Leather & G.H. Bass: 199 stores

Zara: 1,000 stores worldwide (over 2 years)

This week, the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surged to the highest level that we have seen yet, and that means that fear of COVID-19 is going to continue to paralyze economic activity in the United States for the foreseeable future.

That means that many more businesses will be shutting their doors, there will be many more bankruptcies, and millions more Americans will be losing their jobs.

This is what an economic collapse looks like, and it is just getting started.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Is The Nationwide Coin Shortage Being Used To Push Us Toward A Cashless Society?

The coin shortage in the United States is becoming quite severe, and a lot of people are deeply concerned about where this might be leading us.  But if you don’t run a business or deal with coins on a regular basis, you may not even know that it is happening.  On Monday, my wife told me that a lot of people on Facebook were talking about this nationwide coin shortage, and then on Tuesday Ricky Scaparo posted a couple of news stories about it, so I decided that I better start looking into this.  Because if this coin shortage is going to be used to push us toward a cashless society, that makes it a really big deal.

What I discovered is that this coin shortage has actually been intensifying for quite a few weeks, and on June 11th the Federal Reserve issued a statement in which they announced that coin rationing would begin on June 15th

Consequently, effective Monday, June 15, Reserve Banks and Federal Reserve coin distribution locations began allocating coin inventories. To ensure a fair and equitable distribution of existing coin inventory to all depository institutions, effective June 15, the Federal Reserve Banks and their coin distribution locations began to allocate available supplies of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to depository institutions as a temporary measure. The temporary coin allocation methodology is based on historical order volume by coin denomination and depository institution endpoint, and current U.S. Mint production levels. Order limits are unique by coin denomination and are the same across all Federal Reserve coin distribution locations. Limits will be reviewed and potentially revised based on national receipt levels, inventories, and Mint production.

It turns out that the rationing has been a lot stricter than many people originally anticipated.  One small bank in Tennessee that would normally use “400 to 500 rolls of pennies each week” is now only being given 100 rolls per week…

“It was just a surprise,” said Gay Dempsey, who runs the Bank of Lincoln County in Tennessee, when she learned of the rationing order. “Nobody was expecting it.”

Dempsey’s bank typically dispenses 400 to 500 rolls of pennies each week. Under the rationing order, her allotment was cut down to just 100 rolls, with similar cutbacks in nickels, dimes and quarters.

Businesses of all types rely on their banks to supply them with the change they need for their customers, and now many of those businesses are being forced to make major changes because of this coin shortage.

In fact, it is being reported that some businesses around the country are starting to put up signs asking their customers to either pay with exact change or with a card…

First to go were masks, then toilet paper and now there’s a national coin shortage. The 7-Eleven on Oakwood Ave. has a sign asking customers to pay in exact change or by card.

According to the First News Now Facebook, several residents across Tioga County, Pennsylvania mentioned that there’s a coin shortage throughout the area.

Some businesses, like Lowes in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, have posted signs in their stores to inform their customers before they check out with their purchases.

And I was stunned to hear that cash has been “temporarily” banned at all Meijer self-checkout lanes

Cash temporarily won’t be accepted at Meijer self-checkout lanes due to a national shortage of coins.

Customers who want to pay with bills will have to visit Meijer’s staffed checkout lanes for the time being, according to a company statement. The change is in effect at most of Grand Rapids-based retail giant’s 250 supercenters.

Hopefully this coin shortage will start to subside once this coronavirus pandemic begins to fade, but right now there are no indications that this pandemic is going to fade any time soon.  The mainstream media keeps telling us that the pandemic is getting worse, and the number of new cases being reported around the world has been surging in recent weeks.

From the very beginning of this pandemic, we have been told that using cash is potentially “dangerous” because it could possibly spread the virus.  The following comes from an article by Claudio Grass

Even in the early stages of the pandemic, when essentially nothing was concretely known about the virus itself or its transmission, the seeds of new fears were already planted by sensational media reports and fear-mongering political and institutional figures. The insidious idea that “you can catch Covid through cash” might have been prematurely spread, but it did stick in most people’s minds. This is, of course, understandable, given the extremely high levels of uncertainty and anxiety in the general public. Wanting to eliminate potential threats was a natural instinct and so was the urge to take back at least some control over our lives, after they’d been suddenly thrown into utter chaos in the wake of the global economic freeze.

Another factor that concretely helped the shift away from physical cash was an entirely practical one. Given the lockdown measures and the new “social distancing” directives that were enforced all over the world, it became difficult to use cash, even if you really wanted to, or had no other means of transaction, as is the case for billions of people. With physical stores being forced to shut down and with more and more online shops offering contactless delivery (either as a choice or as a service requirement), the need for cash very quickly gave way to digital payments.

Of course central banks all over the globe have been encouraging the use of digital payments for a very long time, and so this pandemic has given them a golden opportunity to accelerate that agenda.

Here in the U.S., there has always been a lot of resistance to the idea of a cashless system, but some countries in Europe such as Sweden have almost entirely done away with cash at this point, and China is shifting in the direction of a cashless society at a pace that is breathtaking.

A lot of people like the speed and efficiency of cashless payments, but what people need to understand is that a system that is entirely cashless would allow governments and financial institutions to monitor us, track us and control us like never before.

It has often been said that “cash means freedom”, and the total abolition of physical cash would be a major blow to everyone that still loves liberty.

Unfortunately, the entire world has been steadily moving in a cashless direction for many years, and this pandemic has given opponents of cash a window of opportunity to push us down that road even faster.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Any Hope For A “V-Shaped Recovery” Has Been Completely Crushed

We were supposed to be well into a “recovery” by now, but instead more bad economic news just keeps pouring in.  In fact, the numbers that I am going to share with you in this article are absolutely eye-popping.  Initially, many of the economic optimists had been trying to convince us that we would experience a “short, sharp recession” followed by a “V-shaped recovery”.  Well, at this point it has become quite clear that we can forget all about that scenario.  The mainstream media is increasingly starting to use the word “depression” to describe what is happening to the U.S. economy, and the raw numbers definitely support the use of that label.  For example, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model is now projecting that U.S. GDP will decline by 46.6 percent on an annualized basis during the second quarter of 2020…

The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the second quarter of 2020 is -46.6 percent on June 25, down from -45.5 percent on June 17. After this week’s data releases from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the National Association of Realtors, a decrease in the nowcast of second-quarter real residential investment growth from -25.9 percent to -35.9 percent was offset by an increase in the nowcast of real business fixed investment growth from -31.1 percent to -28.2 percent, while the nowcast of the contribution of the change in net exports to second-quarter real GDP growth decreased from 0.30 percentage points to -1.27 percentage points.

If that figure is anywhere close to accurate, this quarter will be remembered as the most disastrous economic quarter that we have ever seen in all of U.S. history up to the point.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits each week continues to surprise most analysts

Jobless claims totaled 1.48 million last week as unemployment related to the coronavirus pandemic remained stubbornly high, though those receiving benefits fell below 20 million for the first time in two months, the government reported Thursday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 1.35 million claims.

As I keep reminding my readers, the all-time record for a single week prior to this year was just 695,000, and that record had stood since 1982.

But now we have more than doubled that old record for 14 weeks in a row.

Just think about that.  After laying off tens of millions of workers, you would think that companies would be running out of people to fire, but we continue to see vast hordes of Americans file new claims for unemployment benefits each week.

Overall, more than 47 million Americans have now filed a claim for unemployment benefits since this pandemic began.

If this isn’t an “economic depression”, then how bad would things have to get for us to be in one?

Of course Congress certainly didn’t help matters by giving out such generous unemployment bonuses.  Millions of unemployed workers are now bringing home more money than they did while they were actually working, and this is discouraging many from returning to work.

But that will change very abruptly in just a few weeks

Many out-of-work Americans counting on receiving an extra $600 a week through the end of July may be surprised to discover that benefit will disappear nearly a week earlier than they expected.

The additional $600 in weekly jobless benefits provided by the federal government is officially set to end July 31. But states will pay it only through the week ending July 25 or July 26, a significant blow to unemployed workers counting on that money to bolster state benefits that average just $370 a week.

Starting around the beginning of August, all of a sudden a whole lot of people will be very interested in finding new jobs, but there won’t be many jobs available.

Thousands upon thousands of businesses have already shut down permanently, and more are closing their doors with each passing day.

This new economic downturn has been particularly brutal for small businesses.  Just consider the following numbers from the Wall Street Journal

Roughly 140,000 Yelp-listed businesses that had closed since March 1 remained closed on June 15. A large minority of that set, 41%, has shut for good, according to Yelp.

The figures have improved by about 20% compared with April data, when 175,000 businesses were closed. But the large share of persistent closures, which were spread nationwide, showed the pandemic’s stubborn hindrance to life as normal even as all 50 states have taken steps to reopen.

This isn’t what a “recovery” looks like.

And it isn’t just the private sector that will be shedding jobs like crazy in the months ahead.  As tax revenues collapse, state and local governments all over the nation will be forced to let workers go.  In fact, it is being projected that more than 5 million of them will be laid off…

Right now, sales taxes, real-estate-transfer taxes, income taxes, fines and fees—they are all collapsing, leaving local governments with a budget gap expected to total $1 trillion next year. Without help from Washington, this will necessarily mean massive service cuts and job losses: namely, an estimated 5.3 million job losses.

Those are not jobs that have already been lost.

Those are future job losses that haven’t shown up in the numbers yet.

And those job losses will be particularly painful, because government jobs tend to pay higher than average wages and they tend to come with better than average benefits.

As the job loss tsunami continues to roll on, the number of Americans forced to move back home with their parents or grandparents will continue to soar.  Of course what we have been witnessing already is deeply alarming

A record 32 million American adults were living with their parents or grandparents in April, according to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, an increase of 9.7 percent over a year ago. The data, analyzed by Zillow researchers, showed that 2.7 million adults moved back home in March and April, and that about 2.2 million of them were aged 18 to 25 — also known as Generation Z.

One domino after another is tumbling, and obviously economic conditions are not going to return to the way they were previously.

But this wasn’t supposed to happen.

Once the coronavirus lockdowns ended, we were told that the U.S. economy was supposed to snap back very rapidly.

Unfortunately, the truth is that our economic pain is just beginning.  We have entered an extended economic downturn, and our society is not equipped to handle such a downturn at all.

As I have warned so many times, what we are facing is going to make the last recession look like a Sunday picnic, but most Americans continue to hold out hope that some sort of a “recovery” is still on the horizon.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Media-Induced Fear Of COVID-19 Is Starting To Cause A Second Wave Of Severe Economic Panic

Fear of COVID-19 absolutely crippled the U.S. economy during the first half of this year, and now it appears that there are some people that are pushing for that to happen again during the second half of 2020.  Earlier this evening, I came across a headline that boldly declared that there will be “180,000 U.S. deaths of COVID-19 by October”, and right now just about every mainstream news outlet is running stories about how the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is surging.  And it is definitely true that we are seeing an alarming rise in the number of confirmed cases.  In fact, the number of new cases in the U.S. on Wednesday set a new record

The U.S. broke its record for the highest coronavirus cases recorded in a single day, with 36,358 new positives reported on Wednesday, according to a tally by NBC News.

Wednesday’s cases top the previous highest day count from April 26 — the first peak of the pandemic in the U.S. — by 73 cases, according to NBC News tracking data. The World Health Organization saw its single-day record on Sunday with more 183,000 cases worldwide.

The mainstream media is treating this as some sort of a big shock, but of course the truth is that this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

For months, I have been telling my readers that the lockdowns would “flatten the curve” for a while and that the number of cases would start to spike again once the lockdowns ended.  That is exactly what has happened, but anyone with even a little bit of common sense could have anticipated this.

Earlier this year, states in the northeastern portion of the nation were the epicenter for the outbreak in this country, but now it is states in the southern and western sections of the nation that have become the most prominent hotspots…

Arizona, California, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and South Carolina reported record-high new daily coronavirus cases during this week, as case counts continue to rise in more than half of U.S. states.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state is facing a massive outbreak with another 5,000 cases reported Wednesday. California Gov. Gavin Newsom reported Wednesday 7,149 tested positive, a record number for the nation’s largest state. Both states this week surpassed the entire European Union on the average number of daily cases.

Things are particularly bad in California.  Over the past two days, we have seen a 69 percent increase in the number of newly confirmed cases…

The California Department of Public Health reported its second straight record jump in coronavirus cases on Wednesday as the state joins a handful of others with growing case numbers.

California reported an additional 7,149 Covid-19 cases since Tuesday, a 69% increase in two days, bringing the state’s total to 190,222 cases, according to the state’s health department. The previous highest day jump was reported on Tuesday when the state recorded 5,019 additional new cases.

Needless to say, the snowflake politicians in California are going to be even less eager to return to business as usual than they were before.  And since the state of California accounts for more economic activity than any other U.S. state does, this is going to be a major drag on the U.S. economy as a whole.

If this pandemic keeps dragging on for a couple more years, what are states like California going to do?  Many had anticipated that life would be getting back to normal by now, but instead we are starting to see things go in reverse.  In fact, we just learned that the reopening of Disneyland has been postponed indefinitely

Disney is delaying the phased reopening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, the company’s flagship theme parks in California, the company said on Wednesday.

The resort, located in Anaheim, California, was set to welcome back guests on July 17 after being closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Other very large corporations are making similar moves.  For example, Apple just shut down a whole bunch of their stores because of this new surge in coronavirus cases

On Friday, stocks slumped as second wave fears were reignited following a report that Apple would temporarily shutter 11 U.S. retail stores across Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina.”Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement.“We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible.”

Fast forward to today, when with stocks already sliding on renewed virus of a second wave of virus infections, moments ago Apple reported that it would re-close another 7 stores in Houston and Texas due to the coronavirus spike.

According to the optimists, this wasn’t supposed to happen.  The worst part of this pandemic was supposed to be over, and it was supposed to be all downhill from here.

But instead it has become exceedingly clear that this virus will be with us for a long time to come.  New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have all announced that those traveling in from nine different states where COVID-19 is out of control will be forced into mandatory quarantine for 14 days, and police in New York will actually be actively searching for vehicles that have license plates from those particular states…

In New York, cops will stop cars with license plates from the affected states to ask the person why they are not quarantining and how long they have been in the state for.

The quarantine applies to any state with infection rate of 10 infections per 100,000 people on a seven day rolling average or 10 percent of the total population testing positive.

Speaking of New York, this pandemic has already had a much larger financial impact than most observers had anticipated.

In particular, New York City is facing a nine billion dollar reduction in tax revenue, and Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the city may be forced to let 22,000 workers go

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is considering 22,000 layoffs and furloughs among its 326,000 employees to cut $1 billion of expenses after lockdown-related revenue losses.

De Blasio has projected a $9 billion loss in tax revenue over the next two years because of the pandemic.

Sadly, a whole lot more government workers will be fired across the country before this crisis is over.

Of course things are even worse for the private sector, and we continue to get more examples of this every single day.  On Tuesday, we learned that GNC has decided to declare bankruptcy

GNC Holdings Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Tuesday, has released an initial list of stores that will close.

The list posted at the Pittsburgh-based chain’s site, GNCevolution.com, includes 248 closing stores, including 219 U.S. locations and 29 in Canada.

And we have also just learned that the end may be near for Chuck E. Cheese

The coronavirus pandemic could spell the end of Chuck E. Cheese. The popular kid’s restaurant had to close its 610 locations nationwide during the outbreak. Now, $1 billion in debt has Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company, CEC Entertainment, approaching bankruptcy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that CEC is asking lenders for a $200 million to keep its business going.

I haven’t been to a Chuck E. Cheese in many years, but when I was a kid I absolutely loved to eat there.

As a youngster, it seemed like such a magical place, and now it deeply saddens me to hear that the company may not survive.

In the end, a lot more iconic companies will go under as America plunges even deeper into this new economic depression.

Fear of a virus has turned our economy completely upside down, and thanks to the mainstream media much of the population is going to remain deathly afraid of this virus for the foreseeable future.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Is This The Lowest Point In Modern U.S. History?

Things have certainly gotten really crazy here in 2020.  First we witnessed the eruption of the worst global pandemic in 100 years, then the U.S. economy started collapsing, and then we watched major U.S. cities burn from coast to coast as rioting and looting spiraled out of control.  Everywhere you look, people are very angry and deeply frustrated, nearly 46 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits over the past few months, and fear of COVID-19 continues to paralyze our society to a frightening extent.  But can this really be called the lowest point in modern U.S. history?  According to one recent survey, a whopping 72 percent of all Americans actually believe that this “is the lowest point in the country’s history that they’ve ever been alive to see”…

Across two polls, more than 5,000 adult U.S. residents were recently surveyed on the state of America right now. A staggering 83% say that worrying about the future of the United States is a big source of personal stress. Also, 72% believe this is the lowest point in the country’s history that they’ve ever been alive to see.

That appears to be quite a consensus.

Of course many of those that were alive during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the early days of World War II would strongly argue that what we are experiencing today is nothing compared to what they had to deal with.

And without a doubt, the twelve years from 1968 to 1980 were not easy years by any stretch of the imagination.  Just like now, Americans of that era were facing great civil unrest, tremendous economic problems, major political shaking and a global pandemic that killed a lot of people.  If you don’t know about that pandemic, just Google “the flu pandemic of 1968”.

Having said all that, there is definitely a case to be made for 2020.  Not even during the Great Depression did we ever see the kind of apocalyptic spike in unemployment that we have witnessed this year.  Even though nearly 46 million Americans have already filed for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began, big firms continue to lay off thousands upon thousands of workers.  On top of that, more than 100,000 businesses have already permanently closed their doors, and Americans have already skipped payments on more than 100 million loans.

And as I explained the other day, the most severe pain from this economic downturn won’t even begin to hit us until about six weeks from now.

As emergency government assistance starts to fade, an increasing number of Americans will have a very difficult time keeping up with paying the bills.  In fact, another new survey has found that about half of all homeowners are “worried about making future mortgage payments”

New research offers a glimpse into struggling households, discovers out of the 2,000 American homeowners polled, over half (52%) of respondents say they’re routinely worried about making future mortgage payments and nearly half (47%) considered selling their home because of the inability to service mortgage payments.

The study, conducted by OnePoll and the National Association of Realtors, determined 81% of respondents had experienced unexpected financial stress due to the virus-induced recession. Over half (56%) reduced spending so they could service mortgage payments.

Meanwhile, fear of COVID-19 is going to continue to paralyze our society for the foreseeable future.

I don’t know if you have taken a look at the numbers lately, but the truth is that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is starting to surge again.  For the planet as a whole, Friday was the worst day of the pandemic so far by a very wide margin, and that means that this crisis is a long, long way from over.

There are already whispers that there may be new lockdowns here in the United States.  I seriously hope that does not happen, because that would be another crippling blow for our collapsing economy, and the virus just continued to spread during the first round of lockdowns anyway.

On top of everything else, more rioting, looting and violence could erupt at literally any moment.  Since this is an election year, tensions are going to be running even higher than usual, and even a relatively minor spark could cause another round of major civil unrest.

But as bad as things are right now, what most people don’t understand is that this is just the beginning.

As I have warned so many times before, we have entered a time when we are going to be facing one crisis after another, and this is going to be true no matter what happens during the election in November.

We have reached a moment in history when all of the cycles are ending, all of the bubbles are bursting, and we are going to experience the consequences of all the very foolish decisions that we have been making for decades.

At this point, the immediate outlook is so bleak that it is turning all sorts of people into raging pessimists.  For example, Wolf Richter just posted an article in which he explained why he just shorted the entire stock market

I’m sharing this trade so that everyone gets to ridicule me and hail me as a moron and have fun at my expense in the comments for weeks and months every time the market goes up. And I do not recommend shorting this market; it’s nuts. But here’s why I did.

The stock market had just gone through what was termed the “greatest 50-day rally in history.” The S&P 500 index had skyrocketed 47% from the intraday low on March 23 (2,192) to the close on June 8 (3,232). It was a blistering phenomenal rally. Since June 8, the market has gotten off track but not by much. It’s still a phenomenal rally. And it came during the worst economy in my lifetime.

I know that a lot of people will criticize him for making such a move, but I applaud him for his bravery.

Even if his timing turns out to be a bit early, I certainly concur with him that this latest Fed-fueled bubble will inevitably burst.

But ultimately we are going to be facing problems that are much more severe than a stock market crash.  In fact, a market crash will be among the least of our problems.

Because it isn’t just our economy that is collapsing.

Our entire society is in the process of imploding, and if you don’t like 2020, then you really aren’t going to like what is going to happen in 2021 and beyond.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Americans Have Already Skipped Payments On More Than 100 Million Loans, And Job Losses Continue To Escalate

Those that have been hoping for some sort of a “V-shaped recovery” have had their hopes completely dashed.  U.S. workers continue to lose jobs at a staggering rate, and economic activity continues to remain at deeply suppressed levels all over the nation.  Of course this wasn’t supposed to happen now that states have been “reopening” their economies.  We were told that things would soon be getting back to normal and that the economic numbers would rebound dramatically.  But that is not happening.  In fact, the number of Americans that filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week was much higher than expected

Weekly jobless claims stayed above 1 million for the 13th consecutive week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the U.S. economy.

First-time claims totaled 1.5 million last week, higher than the 1.3 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting. The government report’s total was 58,000 lower than the previous week’s 1.566 million, which was revised up by 24,000.

To put this in perspective, let me once again remind my readers that prior to this year the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000.  So even though more than 44 million Americans had already filed initial claims for unemployment benefits before this latest report, there were still enough new people losing jobs to more than double that old record from 1982.

That is just astounding.  We were told that the economy would be regaining huge amounts of jobs by now, but instead job losses remain at a catastrophic level that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history.

With the addition of this latest number, a grand total of nearly 46 million Americans have now filed initial claims for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

If you can read that statement and still believe that the U.S. economy is not imploding, I would like to know what you are smoking, because it must be pretty powerful.

Some of the things that we are seeing happen around the country right now are absolutely nuts.  For example, earlier this week in Kentucky it was being reported that people were waiting in line for up to 8 hours to talk with a state official face to face about their unprocessed unemployment claims…

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

By now, the U.S. economy was supposed to be roaring back to life and we were supposed to be entering a new golden age of American prosperity.

Unfortunately, the truth is that more bad economic news is hitting us on a continual basis, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

Over the past few days, we have learned that Hilton is laying off 22 percent of its corporate staff, and AT&T has announced that it will be eliminating 3,400 jobs and closing 250 stores…

The wireless carrier AT&T is cutting 3,400 jobs and shutting down 250 stores over the next few weeks, according to a statement from the Communications Workers of America, a union representing AT&T workers.

The AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless retail closures will affect 1,300 jobs, while the other layoffs are said to be affecting technical and clerical workers.

Needless to say, all of these job losses are having a tremendous ripple effect throughout the economy.

Without paychecks coming in, a lot of Americans are having a really tough time paying their bills, and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that payments have already been skipped on more than 100 million loans…

Americans have skipped payments on more than 100 million student loans, auto loans and other forms of debt since the coronavirus hit the U.S., the latest sign of the toll the pandemic is taking on people’s finances.

The number of accounts that enrolled in deferment, forbearance or some other type of relief since March 1 and remain in such a state rose to 106 million at the end of May, triple the number at the end of April, according to credit-reporting firm TransUnion.

Wow.

To me, that is an almost unimaginable number, and it has become clear that a tremendous amount of pain is ahead for the financial institutions that are holding these loans.

A lot of people out there are going to keep hoping that there will be some sort of an economic rebound, but the cold, hard reality of the matter is that fear of COVID-19 is going to keep a large segment of the population from resuming normal economic activities for the foreseeable future.  And it certainly doesn’t help that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has been steadily rising over the past couple of weeks and that the mainstream media has been endlessly warning that a “second wave” is coming.

If you doubt what I am saying, just look at what is happening to the restaurant industry.  We had started to see a small bit of improvement in the numbers, but now fear of a “second wave” has caused restaurant traffic to start cratering again

After three months of slow but consistent improvement in restaurant dining data in the US and across the globe, in its latest update on “the state of the restaurant industry”, OpenTable today reported the biggest drop in seated restaurant diners (from online, phone and walk-in reservations) since the depth of the global shutdown in March.

As shown in the OpenTable graphic below, on Sunday, June 14, restaurant traffic suddenly tumbled, sliding from a -66.5% y/y decline as of June 13 to -78.8% globally.

This was mostly due to a sharp drop in US restaurant diners, which plunged by 13% – from -65% to -78% – the biggest one day drop since the start of the shutdown in the US, and the second biggest one day drop on record.

Business travel is another area where we are seeing signs of big trouble ahead.  The following comes from Yves Smith

Business travel is not coming back any time soon. People are getting accustomed to Zoom. And word may also get out that domestic flying is much worse than it used to be, which will be a deterrent to those who might be so bold as to want to get on a plane. That is a fundamental blow to airlines, airport vendors, hotels, restaurants, and convention centers. Hotel occupancy in April was 24.5% which if anything seems high based on my personal datapoints. The pricings I see say that hotel operators are not expecting much if any improvement through the summer.

Like many of you, I wish that economic conditions would go back to the way they used to be, but that simply is not going to happen.

Yes, we will see economic numbers go up and down over the coming months, but a return to “the good times” is not in the cards.

And what hardly anyone realizes is that this is just the beginning of our problems, and I am working on a new project right now which will explain why this is true in great detail.

So stay tuned, because things are about to get really, really “interesting”.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!