The Economic Numbers That Are Coming Are “Going To Be The Worst In The Post-World War II Era”

We just witnessed the largest quarterly GDP decline since the last financial crisis, and experts are warning that the figure for the second quarter will be far, far worse.  In fact, as you will see below, one expert is telling us to brace ourselves for the worst economic numbers “in the post-World War II era”.  On an annualized basis, U.S. GDP fell by 4.8 percent during the first quarter, and that was a bit worse than most economists were projecting.  And economists were also surprised that consumer spending was down 7.6 percent and business investment was down 8.6 percent during January, February and March.  Under normal circumstances, those would be absolutely horrible numbers, but these are not normal circumstances.  Yes, January and February were relatively normal, but the coronavirus shutdowns began in March and that is why these numbers are so dismal.

Unfortunately, it looks like the economic numbers for the second quarter are going to be much more depressing.  One economist that was interviewed by the New York Times believes that they will actually be the worst that our nation has seen since the end of the Second World War…

“They’re going to be the worst in our lifetime,” Dan North, chief economist for the credit insurance company Euler Hermes North America, said of the second-quarter figures. “They’re going to be the worst in the post-World War II era.”

And at this point even the Trump administration is publicly admitting that the economic numbers are going to start getting really, really bad.  On Monday, Kevin Hassett actually told CNBC that U.S. GDP could fall by up to 30 percent on an annualized basis during the second quarter…

On Monday morning, the White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett warned the second quarter could reflect a 20 to 30 percent decline – something that has not been seen since the 1930s Great Depression.

‘You’re looking at something like minus 20 percent to minus 30 percent in the second quarter. It’s a very grave shock and it’s something we need to take seriously,’ he told CNBC.

But we don’t have to wait until three months from now for numbers that are truly horrific.

On Wednesday, we learned that U.S. home sales in March were down by double digits in every region on the country

Signed contracts to purchase existing homes, referred to as pending home sales, fell 20.8% compared with February and were 16.3% lower annually, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Regionally, pending sales fell 14.5% in the Northeast for the month and were 11% lower than a year ago. In the Midwest, sales decreased 22% monthly and 12.4% annually. In the South sales dropped 19.5% for the week and 17.8% annually, and in the West they fell 26.8% weekly and 21.5% compared with a year ago.

Some states are attempting to gradually “reopen” their economies, and that is good news.

But the bad news is that officials are telling us that all of the restrictions in big states such as California and New York will not be lifted until many months from now, and that is going to greatly depress economic activity for the foreseeable future.

With economic activity so low, companies all over America are laying off workers at a staggering rate.  More than 26 million Americans have lost their jobs so far, and the layoffs just keep on rolling.  For example, we just learned that Uber is planning to let thousands of employees go

Executives at Uber are discussing plans to cut around 20% of the company’s employees, as it copes with a sharp decline in its ride-hailing business due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Information.

Layoffs of that magnitude, which haven’t been finalized but could be announced in stages in the coming weeks, could result in more than 5,400 of Uber’s 27,000 employees losing their jobs.

Of course it isn’t just the United States that is facing an unprecedented unemployment crisis.

According to the International Labour Organization, close to half of all the workers in the world “are in immediate danger of losing their livelihoods”…

Some 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy, representing nearly half of the global labour force, are in immediate danger of losing their livelihoods due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.

The U.N. agency’s latest report sharply raised its forecast for the devastating impact on jobs and incomes of the COVID-19 disease, which has infected more than 3.1 million people globally, killed nearly 220,000 and shut down economies.

This is one of the biggest reasons why lockdowns all over the globe need to be ended as quickly as possible.  If people are not allowed to make a living, they aren’t going to have anything to feed their families.

Even in the United States, we have already seen an explosion of need that is absolutely shocking.  All over the country, people have been lining up for miles to get whatever food that local food banks are able to give them, and we witnessed more examples of this growing phenomenon on Tuesday

Masses of cars waited in line for the drive-thru food giveaway in Pico Rivera, California, as volunteers sporting face masks, gloves and high-vis jackets helped dish out supplies.

Over in Prospect, vehicles were seen snaking through the Big Butler Fairgrounds. It comes as millions of people across America lose their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic and households have been thrown into turmoil.

If things are this bad already, what is this nation going to look like as we get even deeper into “the perfect storm”?

In recent days I have been writing quite a bit about the coming “meat shortage” that the mainstream media has been warning about, and now we are being told that a serious shortage of boneless chicken is already upon us

Goodbye, boneless chicken.

Food retailers across North America are swapping boneless chicken legs for less popular thighs and drumsticks as a wave of shutdowns at meatpacking plants has reduced supplies of sought-after cuts.

As I discussed yesterday, President Trump has decided to order meat processing facilities that were closed down because of COVID-19 to reopen, and many are hoping that this move will put a quick end to the shortages.

But on Wednesday the mainstream media was full of stories about how meat processing workers may decide to defy President Trump and refuse to go back to work…

Meat-processing plant workers are concerned about President Donald Trump’s executive order that compels plants to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. Meat plant employees are among America’s most vulnerable workers, and some say they expect staff will refuse to come to work.

“All I know is, this is crazy to me, because I can’t see all these people going back into work,” said Donald, who works at Tyson’s Waterloo, Iowa, facility. “I don’t think people are going to go back in there.”

If fear of COVID-19 keeps a substantial percentage of workers from returning to their jobs, that could cause the emerging meat shortages to get even worse in the weeks ahead.

Of course fear of the coronavirus is paralyzing many sectors of our economy right now, and that is not going to end any time soon.

So we should expect really dismal economic numbers for the foreseeable future, and it appears exceedingly unlikely that there will be any sort of a turnaround before the election in November.

America’s next economic depression has begun, and it is going to be really, really painful.

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 all many people as we possibly can.

Millions Of Of Pigs, Chickens And Cattle Are Being Euthanized While The Media Warns “Shortages” Are Coming

More than 26 million Americans have lost their jobs during these coronavirus lockdowns so far, and this has created unprecedented demand at food banks all over the nation.  In many cities, vehicles start lining up at the food banks at the crack of dawn, and in some instances the lines have literally stretched for miles.  But at the same time, farmers all over America have been dumping millions of gallons of milk, disposing of millions of pounds of fresh vegetables, and putting farm animals to death at a rate that we have never seen before.  In fact, Reuters is reporting that “millions of pigs, chickens and cattle will be euthanized” because they can’t be sold.  Unlike other parts of the globe, we actually have plenty of food right now, but we can’t get much of that food to the people because so many food processing facilities have been shut down due to fear of COVID-19.

What we are witnessing is nothing short of a tragedy.  Even though there are so many needy families all across America at this time, so many farmers are being forced to waste what they have produced because food distribution pipelines have been brought to a standstill.  The following is how Forbes is describing the current state of affairs.

Dairy farmers are trying to decide between dumping their milk and selling their dairy cows for beef. Contract chicken growers on the Eastern Shore have been asked to “depopulate” nearly 2 million chickens. Hog farmers in Iowa and Minnesota are starting to euthanize their pigs. For contract and cooperative farmers—producers in the food system who are obligated to a larger entity—the options are limited.

I have a feeling that we are going to end up deeply regretting letting so many resources go to waste during this time.

In Iowa piglets are being aborted by the thousands, in Minnesota tens of thousands of chickens are being gassed to death, and in Wisconsin farmers have been pouring countless gallons of good milk on to the ground.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media is breathlessly warning us that “shortages” are coming.

With food processing plants closing all over the nation, our choices are going to become a lot more limited, and Tyson Foods is openly admitting that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain”

Tyson Foods is facing a new set of challenges. In small communities around the country where we employ over 100,000 hard-working men and women, we’re being forced to shutter our doors. This means one thing – the food supply chain is vulnerable. As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain. As a result, there will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.

And Smithfield Foods has also released a very ominous statement

“During this pandemic, our entire industry is faced with an impossible choice: continue to operate to sustain our nation’s food supply or shutter in an attempt to entirely insulate our employees from risk,” Smithfield Foods, the largest global pork producer owned by the Chinese WH Group, said in a statement on Friday. “It’s an awful choice; it’s not one we wish on anyone.”

“It is impossible to keep protein on tables across America if our nation’s meat plants are not running. Across the animal protein industry, closures can have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions up and down the supply chain,” the statement said. “Beyond the implications to our food supply, our entire agricultural community is in jeopardy. Farmers have nowhere to send their animals and could be forced to euthanize livestock, effectively burying food in the ground. We have a stark choice as a nation: we are either going to produce food or not, even in the face of COVID-19.”

Ultimately, these big corporations are scared to death of being sued into oblivion by their workers if they stay open during this pandemic, and so that is why it is going to be necessary for the federal government to step in.

President Trump has the authority to order meat processing facilities to stay open, and apparently that is exactly what he plans to do

President Donald Trump plans to order meat-processing plants to remain open as the nation confronts growing food-supply disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak, a person familiar with the matter said.

Trump plans to use the Defense Production Act to order the companies to stay open as critical infrastructure, and the government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance, according to the person.

This should greatly help matters, and I wish that it had been done sooner.

But for the economy as a whole, the outlook continues to be very bleak.  Fear of the coronavirus is going to keep many Americans from resuming normal activities for a long time to come, and that is going to absolutely paralyze economic activity.  If you doubt this, check out the results of this new poll

Fewer than half of Americans plan to go to sports events, concerts, movies and amusement parks when they reopen to the public until there is a proven coronavirus vaccine, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.

That includes those who have attended such events in the past, an ominous sign for the sports and entertainment industries hoping to return to the spotlight after being shut down by the pandemic.

I was deeply alarmed when I read that.

There has never been a successful vaccine for any coronavirus in all of human history, and so those that are waiting for one may be waiting for a very, very long time.

Meanwhile, economic suffering is going to continue to escalate all over the nation.  In Arkansas, people were lining up at 5:30 AM on Tuesday at a food bank in the Little Rock area, and all of the food “was gone within an hour and a half”

The Arkansas Foodbank planned to hand out food for four hours on Tuesday, but the demand was so high that all the food was gone within an hour and a half, the charity said.

Cars lined up at the Outlets of Little Rock mall, which hosted the event, as early as 5:30 a.m., when the food bank’s workers arrived to unload the trucks, Arkansas Foodbank CEO Rhonda Sanders said.

Everything that I have been warning about for so long is starting to happen, and this country is heading for incredibly challenging times.

Hopefully Trump’s executive order will be implemented smoothly and all of the meat processing plants will be forced to reopen.

But this is yet another example that shows how vulnerable our supply chains really are, and one has to wonder how we will fare when an even greater crisis comes along.

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 all many people as we possibly can.

Are You Ready For The Great Depression Of The 2020s?

For those of you that were expecting just a “deep recession”, I am afraid that you are going to be very disappointed.  It took years for the U.S. economy to fully unravel in the 1930s, but now we have witnessed a similar level of economic devastation in just a matter of weeks.  More than 26 million Americans have already lost their jobs, economic activity has come to a standstill, people are lining up for miles at food banks all over the nation, and businesses are being permanently shuttered at a staggering pace.  But the good news is that some states will attempt to “reopen” their economies in the weeks ahead.  In most instances, there will be several stages before all of the restrictions are finally lifted, and that means that economic suffering will be stretched out for an extended period of time.  And of course if cases and deaths start spiking again we could see another wave of strict lockdowns all over the country, and needless to say that would greatly escalate this economic downturn.

At this moment, so many hard working people all over America are deeply hurting.

I personally know people that have lost their jobs, and you probably do too.  And because virtually nobody is hiring right now, it is going to be exceedingly difficult for newly unemployed workers to find other jobs.

Because it has an economy that is so dependent on the entertainment industry, Nevada is being hit particularly hard by this downturn.  The New York Times spoke to one Nevada resident named Valicia Anderson, and she hardly knows anyone that is still actually working

When Valicia Anderson starts to count the people she knows in Las Vegas who have lost their jobs, she runs out of fingers fast.

Her husband, the breadwinner of her family and a restaurant worker in the Rio casino. All 25 of his co-workers. Her grown son, in a temp agency. The technician who does her nails. The barber who cuts her husband’s hair. Her best friend, a waitress. The three servers and a manager at the TGI Friday’s that is her family’s favorite treat.

It has been estimated that the current unemployment rate in the state is “about 25 percent”, and that number is almost certainly going to go higher in the months ahead.

Down in Texas, they are also dealing with an oil crash at the same time that they are wrestling with this coronavirus pandemic, and this has created the worst budget crisis that the city of Houston has ever seen

On the same day that the price for U.S. crude oil fell to about $30 below zero — a mind-bending concept and the first time oil prices had ever turned negative — Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, the self-proclaimed energy capital of the world, stood before reporters. His words were grim and muffled by the black mask covering his face.

The mayor announced that city employees would soon be furloughed, but he declined to say how many. The Houston Zoo, he said, could expect to see funding deferred under what he called “the worst budget that the city will deal with in its history.”

The high paying energy industry jobs that fueled an incredible real estate boom in Texas are now disappearing by the thousands, and it is being reported that many of those that are being laid off are learning the news “during painful Zoom sessions from home”

Thousands of energy workers, some of whom only lately moved to the region to take advantage of the recent prosperity, have been laid off. Many of them were told the bad news during painful Zoom sessions from home.

Warning letters from energy companies have been flooding the Texas Workforce Commission about layoffs and furloughs: 3,500 at Halliburton, 223 at Tenaris, 184 at Baker Hughes, 102 at Diamond Offshore Drilling, 95 at Energy Transfer.

By the way, when did Zoom become such a big thing?

It seems like so many people are using it now, and I don’t understand why it is so popular.

Perhaps my readers will help me to understand this.

Getting back to the economy, at this point even the Trump administration is admitting that the unemployment rate will soon be approaching levels that “we saw during the Great Depression”

White House senior advisor Kevin Hassett says US economy is in “grave situation” and the unemployment rate could be hitting the same numbers seen during the Great Depression due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re going to be looking at an unemployment rate that approaches rates that I think we saw during the Great Depression,” Hassett told ABC’ ‘The Week’ on Sunday.

Let’s put that into perspective for a moment.

During the last recession, we thought that things were really, really bad when the unemployment rate got up to about 10 percent.

But back in 1933 the unemployment rate peaked at 25 percent, and now we are being told that we should expect something similar here in 2020.

Wow.

And of course low income Americans are being hit harder than anyone else.  Just check out these numbers

Most Americans support stay-at-home restrictions to protect public health. And yet the burden of the country’s shutdown is disproportionately falling on those least prepared to handle it: About 52 percent of low-income Americans say they or someone in their household has experienced job upheaval, compared to 43 percent of the broader adult population, the Pew Research Center found. Only 23 percent of low-income Americans say they have enough emergency funds to last them three months.

Hopefully as some states attempt “reopenings” it will help to slow down this enormous tsunami of unemployment.

But as I pointed out the other day, millions of Americans are now making much more money being unemployed than they did when they were working, and so that is going to provide an incentive for millions of Americans to stay unemployed for the foreseeable future.

And even if all of the coronavirus restrictions in the entire country were lifted tomorrow, fear of the coronavirus would cause economic activity to be greatly depressed for many months to come.

As I discussed yesterday, the meat processing industry is a perfect example of this.  Meat processing facilities are being shut down all over the nation, and one expert just told NBC News that we should expect shortages of meat in our grocery stores “around May 1″…

Beef, chicken and pork could be as scarce as toilet paper soon because so many meat processing plants have been temporarily shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, industry experts are warning.

“We’ve just completed our third week of reduced slaughter and production,” Dennis Smith, a commodity broker/livestock analyst with Archer Financial Services in Chicago, said. “My guess is that about one week out, perhaps around May 1, shortages will begin developing at retail meat counters.”

So many of the things that we have been warning about for a long time are starting to happen, but most Americans still do not grasp the seriousness of this crisis.

All of the economic dominoes are starting to fall, and even if the remainder of this pandemic goes much more smoothly than anticipated, it will not fundamentally alter our current economic trajectory.

The “Everything Bubble” lasted far longer than it should have, but now that it has burst the pain is going to be absolutely immense.

And it is those at the bottom of the economic food chain that are going to be hit the hardest.

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 all many people as we possibly can.

We Have Never Seen An Economic Collapse Quite Like This, And It Is Largely A Self-Inflicted Wound

The rate at which the U.S. economy is unraveling is absolutely breathtaking.  On Thursday, we learned that another 4.4 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, and that means that a grand total of more than 26 million Americans have lost their jobs during this pandemic so far.  To get an idea of just how dramatically this record-setting unemployment spike dwarfs what we witnessed during the last recession, check out these charts.  Prior to this year, the record for new unemployment claims in a single week was just 695,800, and now each of the last five weeks has been at least four times larger than that old record.  And as I discussed in an article earlier today, millions of those workers have absolutely no incentive to go back to work any time soon, because thanks to Congress they are bringing home more money now than when they were actually working.  So even if efforts are made to return the economy “to normal”, millions of workers will want to stay home until the $600 per week “unemployment bonus” finally expires.  The sad thing is that this new economic crisis is largely a self-inflicted wound, and I will explain why that is true later in this article.

But first let’s talk about where things currently stand.  Based on the unemployment claim numbers that we have been seeing, experts are now projecting that the current rate of unemployment in the U.S. “is about 16 percent”

With a labor force that totals about 162 million people, the claims figures suggest the unemployment rate is about 16 percent, or roughly one in six Americans — significantly higher than the 10 percent peak seen during the 2008 financial crisis. The previous one-week high for jobless claims was 695,800 in 1982.

For a long time I have been warning that the next crisis would make the last recession look like a Sunday picnic, and now that has actually happened.

In addition to an unprecedented number of initial claims for unemployment benefits, we have also absolutely smashed the all-time record for the number of “continuing claims”

A person who has filed an “initial claim” for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and still doesn’t have a job a week later is added to “insured unemployment.” The number of the “insured unemployed” – often called “continued claims” – skyrocketed to 15.98 million, by far the highest in the history of the data series. The high before this Covid-19 era was 6.63 million in May of 2009.

And now that Congress has given workers a tremendous financial incentive to stay unemployed, the number of “continuing claims” is likely to keep going higher with each passing week.

Of course this isn’t just happening in the United States.  Over in Europe, business activity is falling at the fastest pace ever recorded

“The eurozone economy suffered the steepest falls in business activity and employment ever recorded during April as a result of measures taken to contain the coronavirus outbreak,” it said.

The company’s purchasing manager’s index (PMI) dived to a record low of 13.5 in April, from the previous all-time low of 29.7 in March, confirming private sector gloom that is savaging the 19-nation eurozone.

To put those numbers in perspective, any reading below 50 indicates a contraction.

Needless to say, these absolutely horrific statistics are the result of the coronavirus lockdowns, but were these lockdowns actually necessary in the first place?

As I discussed yesterday, the only reason why any sort of a lockdown should be implemented is if the hospitals in a particular area are being overwhelmed, because if people are unable to get medical treatment that could definitely push the ultimate death toll from the pandemic higher than it otherwise would have been.

But in most parts of the U.S. and Europe right now, hospitals are not being even close to overwhelmed.

Keeping everyone at home is not going to defeat this virus or end this pandemic.  When you are dealing with a virus that spreads from person to person this easily, there is no way that you are going to contain it.  In fact, the U.S. just had 31,900 newly confirmed cases in the 24 hour period that just ended even though most of the nation has already been locked down for weeks.

Yes, these lockdowns have temporarily slowed down the spread of the virus, but the lockdowns have also extended the duration of this pandemic.  Ultimately, this pandemic is never going to be over until it sweeps through the population and “herd immunity” is achieved.  And as I discussed yesterday, 70 to 90 percent of the population is going to have to develop antibodies in order to get to that point.

And if you are waiting for a “vaccine” to get us out of this mess, you are going to be waiting for a very, very long time.  There has never been a successful vaccine for any coronavirus in all of human history, and the task of trying to develop one for COVID-19 has become exceedingly more difficult now that scientists have discovered that there are 30 different strains of the virus.

So the truth is that this outbreak is going to rip through our population, and nothing that our politicians can do will be able to stop that from happening.

But the good news is that new numbers from New York seem to indicate that we are closer to “herd immunity” than we previously thought…

Preliminary results from New York’s first coronavirus antibody study show nearly 14 percent tested positive, meaning they had the virus at some point and recovered, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. That equates to 2.7 million infections statewide — more than 10 times the state’s confirmed cases.

The study, part of Cuomo’s “aggressive” antibody testing launched earlier this week, is based on 3,000 random samples from 40 locations in 19 counties. While the preliminary data suggests much more widespread infection, it means New York’s mortality rate is much lower than previously thought.

However, another study that was conducted in L.A. County found that only 4 percent of their residents had developed antibodies, and that is probably more representative of the nation as a whole.

In any event, everyone agrees that the vast majority of the U.S. population has not developed antibodies, and that means that there will be many more cases and many more deaths in the months ahead.

And that is going to happen no matter how our politicians respond to this crisis.

So as long as our hospitals are not being overwhelmed, there isn’t a need for any lockdowns.  The final case total and the final death toll will be roughly the same whether there are lockdowns or not.

But these lockdowns are definitely killing our economy, and tens of millions of American workers now find themselves unemployed.

And if we continue to try to keep the U.S. economy shut down for a few more months, the economic damage will be incalculable.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  I am not saying that we should sacrifice lives in order to save the economy.  What I am saying is that about the same number of people are eventually going to die whether we have the lockdowns or not.  And if we can’t handle this, how in the world are we going to deal with what else is coming?

If you are elderly, have a compromised immune system or are in some other high risk group, you are going to have to quarantine yourself for the foreseeable future, but that would be true whether there are lockdowns or not.  The mortality rates for high risk groups are much, much higher than for the general population as a whole, and the danger is very real.

But everyone else should be allowed to get back to work, because most of the population is eventually going to catch this virus no matter what we do.  As long as our hospitals can handle it, we should proceed with life as normal.

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen.  Most of the current lockdowns are going to remain in place for quite some time, and this new economic depression is just going to get deeper and deeper.

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 all many people as we possibly can.

Killed By The Coronavirus Lockdowns: 1000s Of U.S. Businesses That Were Shut Down Will Be Closed Permanently

This economic downturn is turning out to be far deeper and far more severe than most experts were originally anticipating.  More than 22 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits, and economists are telling us that the U.S. economy is contracting at the fastest rate that we have seen since the Second World War.  We are already starting to see some high profile companies move toward bankruptcy, but the real story is what is happening to thousands upon thousands of small and mid-size businesses because of the lockdowns.  Many of them were barely surviving even before this pandemic, and now these lockdowns have delivered a death blow.

The restaurant industry is a perfect example.  Prior to the pandemic, there were more than a million restaurants in the United States, and about half of them were independent.  Those independent restaurants employed approximately 11 million workers, and now the vast majority of those workers have been laid off.

Once the lockdowns are over, it would be wonderful if all of those independent restaurants would spring back to life, but the results of a recent survey suggest that simply is not going to happen.  In fact, that survey found that 28 percent of all independent restaurants are probably not going to survive if the lockdowns last for another month…

A survey released Thursday by the James Beard Association found independent restaurants laid off 91% of their hourly employees and nearly 70% of salaried employees as of April 13 – double-digit increases in both categories since March. The poll of 1,400 small and independent restaurants found 38% of have closed temporarily or permanently, and 77% have seen their sales drop in half or worse.

Perhaps most troubling: 28% of restaurants said they don’t believe they can survive another month of closure, and only 1 out of 5 are certain they can sustain their businesses until normal operations can resume.

28 percent of 500,000 is 140,000, and so if these lockdowns are not lifted soon we could be facing a scenario is which tens of thousands of independent restaurants are lost forever.

Of course a lot of restaurants that do reopen will face a really tough struggle because fear of the coronavirus is going to keep customers away for the foreseeable future.  So even if all of the lockdowns were lifted tomorrow, the restaurant industry would still not fully recover.

Sadly, the same could be said for the fitness industry.  In fact, we just learned that one of the biggest fitness chains in the nation is getting ready to file for bankruptcy

Gym chain 24 Hour Fitness is working with advisors at investment bank Lazard and law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges to weigh options including a bankruptcy that could come as soon as the next few months, people familiar with the matter tell CNBC.

The chain is grappling with a heavy debt load, deteriorating performance and a coronavirus pandemic that forced it to shut its more than 400 clubs.

Yes, a certain segment of the population is quite eager to resume all of their normal pre-pandemic activities, but even a 20 or 30 percent drop off in revenue will be fatal for many gyms.

And the truth is that a lot of people are simply not going to be in the mood to share exercise equipment with others for a long time to come.

The entertainment, tourism and retail industries have also been hit extremely hard by this pandemic.  The other day I was quite stunned when I learned that Neiman Marcus “is reportedly ready to file bankruptcy”

Neiman Marcus Group, one of the largest retailers in the United States, is reportedly ready to file bankruptcy amid the COVD-19 pandemic after defaulting millions in bond payments last week and furloughing 14,000 employees.

Neiman Marcus would become the first major US department store to crumble amidst the economic set backs from the coronavirus outbreak.

No, things are definitely not going to be returning to “normal” in America, and there will be a lot more big corporate names among the victims in the days to come.

At this point, even some of the most prominent corporations in the entire country are “indefinitely” sidelining their workers

Indefinite furloughs began this weekend for more than 100,000 Disney, Best Buy and CarMax workers as businesses make cuts to survive the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent mandatory closures.

But most Americans are not in any position to handle “indefinite furloughs”.

In fact, one survey discovered that a whopping 50 percent of all Americans will run through their savings “by the end of April”

One of the largest concerns on most homeowners minds right now is how they are going to pay bills — specifically their monthly mortgage payments. 50% of Americans reported their savings will run out by the end of April. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, 30% of homeowners had less than $1,000 in an emergency fund, with 22% reporting they didn’t have enough in savings to cover their mortgage payment for one month.

Just like during the last recession, countless numbers of Americans will go from living a comfortable middle class lifestyle to being desperately needy in just a matter of weeks.

I have been writing a lot about the absolutely massive lines that we have been seeing at food banks all over the nation, and we just witnessed another example in Miami.  In one of the wealthiest areas of the entire city, vehicles were lined up for a mile as people waited patiently to receive handouts from a local food bank…

Talk about a Norman Rockwell painting idea come to life — a parade of cars filled with hungry people in Miami … smack dab in the middle of two of the city’s ritziest hotels.

Check out this surreal scene down in Miami Beach, where a MILE-long line of cars were arranged in a giant U-curve in between the W Hotel and Setai Hotel — two of MB’s most high-end go-to spots for celebrity out-of-towners … like Kim K, Justin Bieber and more.

You can see photos from that event right here, and if you look closely you will see that some of those vehicles are quite nice.

As I have warned so many times over the years, if you don’t have any sort of a financial cushion you can “suddenly” find yourself in a whole lot of trouble when disaster finally strikes.

Unfortunately, we have now entered a time when there will be one crisis after another, and every new crisis will significantly escalate our woes.

For a very long time, there have been very loud warnings that our debt-fueled economic bubble would burst, and now it has happened.

The road ahead is going to be filled with immense pain, and most Americans are not going to be able to handle it.

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 all many people as we possibly can.

U.S. Economy Contracting “At Its Sharpest Pace Since World War Two” And “The Worst Is Yet To Come”

Fear of COVID-19 has unleashed economic chaos on a scale that has already surpassed anything that we witnessed during the last recession, and as you will see below, we are now being warned that “the worst is yet to come”.  Many Americans are hoping that things can start to return to normal as the U.S. economy “reopens” in the weeks ahead, but the truth is that we are still in the very early chapters of this crisis.  In fact, it is being estimated that we are only one-tenth of the way through this pandemic, and by “flattening the curve” we have actually extended the economic pain.  You see, the truth is that most Americans are going to end up catching this virus one way or another.  All of the “shelter-in-place” orders have temporarily slowed down the spread of this coronavirus, but once they are lifted it is inevitable that we will see new waves of people becoming infected.  And if you think that a vaccine will be the golden ticket that gets us out of this mess, you might want to reconsider that belief, because there has never been a successful vaccine for any coronavirus.  Of course it is possible that scientists could come up with something this time around, but if the virus mutates significantly that could render any potential vaccine absolutely useless.

In the days ahead, there will be a tremendous amount of debate about the correct way to fight this virus, but meanwhile the U.S. economy will continue to deteriorate.

In fact, Reuters is reporting that economists are now projecting that the U.S. economy is contracting “at its sharpest pace since World War Two”…

The deepening economic slump was also amplified by other data on Thursday showing manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region plunged to levels last seen in 1980 and homebuilding tumbling by the most in 36 years in March.

The reports followed dismal reports on Wednesday of a record drop in retail sales in March and the biggest decline in factory output since 1946. Economists are predicting the economy, which they believe is already in recession, contracted in the first quarter at its sharpest pace since World War Two.

Yesterday, I documented the fact that we are in the midst of the largest tsunami of job losses in U.S. history by a very wide margin.

In fact, we are absolutely obliterating the old records, and that truly puts us in unchartered territory.  And as bad as things have already gotten, one prominent expert told Reuters that “the worst is yet to come”…

Economists are estimating the economy contracted as much as 10.8% in the first quarter, which would be the steepest drop in gross domestic product since 1947. They say the massive fiscal package will likely provide little cushion for the economy.

“The economy is in a downward spiral where job losses beget job losses and the federal government emergency relief checks will not be enough to turn the tide,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “The recovery is looking less V-shaped by the day as the deeper we fall, the harder it will be for the nation to climb back out of this deep hole the pandemic has dug for the economy. The worst is yet to come.”

As areas around the country start “reopening for business”, some of the jobs that were lost will come back.

But the truth is that millions of those jobs are gone permanently, and large numbers of the businesses that were closed down will never open again.

For the foreseeable future, a lot of Americans are going to avoid going to restaurants, bars, movie theaters, shopping malls and other businesses that require close human interaction.  One expert that was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times says that for the next few years we need to accept the fact that the world “will be totally different than what we are used to”…

“The world that we are going to live in for at least the next two to three years will be totally different than what we are used to,” said Sung Won Sohn, president of SS Economics and professor at Loyola Marymount University.

“Because of the psychological shock that we have experienced, we are going to be more cautious, and we will probably spend less and save more, and we will have fewer contacts with other individuals,” he said. “We are going to be suspicious about things, [such as] whether people we are meeting have the virus and will the economy fall back down again.”

The fear that this pandemic has created is going to be with us for a very long time, and it is going to cause enormous shifts in economic behavior even after the U.S. starts “reopening”.

In an environment like this, very few people are buying vehicles, the housing market is already imploding all over the nation, and retailers are having a very difficult time envisioning any sort of a positive future for their industry at this point.

But at least we will all be getting big, fat socialist bailout checks from the government, right?

Actually, they won’t be that big, and for most Americans the checks will only get them through about one month.

So once that money is gone, will the federal government send us another round of “universal basic income” checks?

Now that they have gone down this rabbit hole, the federal government is in danger of sparking civil unrest if they don’t keep the checks coming.  In fact, Jim Rickards is entirely convinced that large scale “social disorder” is on the way…

Looting, burglary and violence in the midst of a state of emergency are the shape of things to come.

The veneer of civilization is paper-thin and easily torn. Most people don’t realize how fragile it is. But they’re going to learn that lesson, I’m afraid.

Expect social disorder to get worse long before it gets better.

Unfortunately, Rickards is right on point, and I have also been warning about “great civil unrest” for a very long time.  The delicately balanced debt-fueled prosperity that we had been enjoying for so many years has now been shattered, and things are going to get really ugly in this country.

And this coronavirus pandemic is not going away any time soon.  Over the last 24 hours, the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has jumped by more than 30,000 and the death toll has risen by more than 2,400 even though most of the nation is currently shut down.

Ending the lockdowns will give a boost to the economy, but it will also cause the virus to start spreading faster, and once that happens we could see another round of lockdowns.

In the end, our battle with COVID-19 will not be over until the virus has swept through most of the population, and we are not going to reach that point for quite a while.

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 all many people as we possibly can.

This Is The Worst Employment Collapse In U.S. History By A Very Wide Margin

We have never seen an “employment apocalypse” in the United States like we are witnessing right now, and it is not going to end any time soon.  Over the past several days, “coronavirus shutdowns” have officially been extended all over the nation, and the longer these shutdowns last the more jobs our economy is going to lose.  And because most Americans were living paycheck to paycheck before this pandemic hit us, many unemployed workers are already unable to pay their bills.  Yes, our authorities may be slowing down the spread of the virus, but in the process they have absolutely killed the economy.  On Thursday, I was stunned to learn that another 5.2 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week.  That brings the grand total for the last four weekly reports “to a staggering 22 million”

About 5.2 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.  Jobless claims provide the best measure of layoffs across the country. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated that 5.5 million Americans would file initial applications for unemployment insurance last week.

That brings the total claims over the past four weeks to a staggering 22 million. By comparison, the labor market added 21.5 million jobs since the Great Recession.

Just think about that.

22 million jobs wiped out in one month.

And the true number of jobs lost is actually even higher, because not everyone that loses a job files for unemployment benefits.

Prior to this year, the highest number of initial claims for unemployment benefits during any four week period that we had ever witnessed was 2.7 million during the fall of 1982.

So 22 million in four weeks truly puts us in uncharted territory.  Just look at this chart.

We aren’t just beating the old records, we are absolutely obliterating them.

You know that things are really, really bad when even NBC News sounds just like The Economic Collapse Blog…

“The labor market is obviously very, very important, and has a high correlation with what is going on in the economy,” Jay Bryson, the acting chief economist at Wells Fargo, told NBC News. “It is showing us what I think we all know, that the economy is falling off a cliff at an unprecedented rate.”

In other words, the chief economist at Wells Fargo is saying that the U.S. economy is completely and utterly collapsing.

According to Zero Hedge, “we have lost 710 jobs for every confirmed US death from COVID-19 (30,985).”  Our politicians have prioritized saving lives over saving the economy, and many people out there seem convinced that was the right choice, but the economic devastation has been immense.

The socialist “stimulus payments” and unemployment benefits will help all of these unemployed workers temporarily, but the payments from the federal government are supposedly just a one time deal, and it won’t be too long before many states start running out of unemployment money

Six states — including New York, which has the highest number of cases in the US — can only fund up to 10 weeks of unemployment benefits from their state coffers before money runs out and they have to turn to the federal government for additional funding, according to a recent estimate from the Tax Foundation.

Another 15 state trust funds don’t meet the federal Department of Labor’s recommended minimum solvency standard, which requires being able to pay benefits for a year in an economic downturn similar to the Great Recession.

So what will the federal government do once we get to that point?

I imagine that Congress will eventually want to borrow and spend trillions more dollars that we don’t have, and it is likely that “conservatives” and “liberals” will both be quite eager to vote for another pork-filled bill.

But it is probably going to take some time for Congress to get through the process of passing another crazy spending package, and meanwhile deep economic suffering is erupting all over the nation.

On Thursday, vehicles were lined up for two miles in Miramar, Florida as needy individuals waited for hours to get handouts from a local food bank.  We are starting to see food lines like this all over the country, and if things are this bad already, what will things look like a few months from now?

The chief economist at Grant Thornton in Chicago is calling this “the deepest, fastest, most broad-based recession we’ve ever seen”, and I can’t argue with that assessment one bit.

For a moment, I would like for you to consider just a few of the economic news items that we have seen over the past few days…

-United Airlines has reduced its schedule of flights for May and June “by about 90%” as demand for air travel has absolutely plummeted.

-U.S. retail sales were down 8.7 percent in March.

-J.C. Penney is “considering bankruptcy”.

-Housing starts just collapsed by the most that we have seen in 36 years.

-The mayor of Los Angeles says that large gatherings in his city will likely be banned until 2021.

-Facebook has canceled all large events until June 2021.

-Chinese GDP just experienced the largest drop ever recorded.

Of course nearly every nation will soon report absolutely staggering declines in GDP.  The shutdowns have brought economic activity to a standstill all over the globe, and no region is immune.

The following is how the Daily Mail is describing the current state of global trade…

The coronavirus pandemic is crippling global trade because crews on transport ships have been stranded at sea for months and food processing plants have been forced to close, threatening to bring the world’s supply chain to a grinding halt.

Shipping workers at sea are denied entry into ports, truckers can’t get to work in some countries or are confronted with complications at borders, food plants are closing and farm harvests going to waste in the crisis.

Does that sound like a “perfect storm” to you?

Well, the truth is that it is just getting started.

Eventually this pandemic will subside, but now that all of the economic dominoes are starting to tumble it will be exceedingly difficult to reverse that momentum.

And as I pointed out the other day, most Americans are not likely to resume all of their normal daily activities once the restrictions are finally lifted, and fear of this virus is going to be a dominant economic force for the foreseeable future.

What all of this means is that we are facing incredible economic pain for the short-term, the mid-term and for a long time to come.

At this point, we should no longer speak of “economic collapse” as something that will happen in the future.

It is here.

It is now.

And it is going to get a lot worse.

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 all many people as we possibly can.

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