Soon, You Will Need To Wear A Mask To Enter Virtually Every Major Retail Store In America

If you are adamant about not wearing a mask, you are not going to like this news one bit.  Coming into this week, Costco, Starbucks, Best Buy and Panera Bread were requiring customers to wear masks to come into their stores, but most other major retailers were still giving people the freedom to choose whether they wanted to wear a mask or not.  I know that a lot of people appreciated this freedom to choose, but it is about to come to an abrupt end.  On Wednesday, Walmart and Kroger announced that they will be starting to require consumers to wear masks in all of their stores, and the National Retail Federation is pushing all of the rest of their members to do the same thing.  In the days ahead it is expected that most of them will follow suit, and that means that soon there will be very few major retail stores that you are able to enter without wearing a mask.

Walmart says that they decided to make this change in order to “bring consistency” across all of their stores.  The following comes from the official Walmart website

As the number of confirmed cases has spiked in communities across the country recently, so too have the number and types of face covering mandates being implemented. Currently about 65 percent of our more than 5,000 stores and clubs are located in areas where there is some form of government mandate on face coverings. To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20. This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols.

In the region of the country where I live, there are a ton of people that feel very strongly about not wearing masks, and this announcement is going to hit them really hard.

There is only one Walmart within a 90 minute drive of where I live, and virtually everyone in the region pops in there at some point.  But now those that do not want to wear masks will be excluded, and there will be some very hard feelings over this.

If you try to enter a Walmart without a mask next week, you will be greeted at the door by a “Health Ambassador” wearing a black shirt.  I find it very interesting that they specifically chose the color black, and I think that it would have been helpful if they had chosen a more friendly color.  In any event, these new positions are being created in order to ensure that only people wearing masks are able to get into the stores.  Of course Walmart is trying to make this sound as non-threatening as possible

In addition to posting clear signage at the front of our stores, Walmart has created the role of Health Ambassador and will station them near the entrance to remind those without a mask of our new requirements. Our ambassadors will receive special training to help make the process as smooth as possible for customers. The ambassadors, identifiable by their black polo shirts, will work with customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution. We are currently considering different solutions for customers when this requirement takes effect on July 20.

Needless to say, this announcement by Walmart is likely to spark an avalanche of other announcements by major retailers.

In fact, Kroger made an announcement just hours after Walmart did

Within hours, Kroger — the largest U.S. supermarket chain — said it will also require shoppers to wear masks starting July 22.

And as I mentioned above, the National Retail Federation is already pushing all of their members to fall in line

The president of the  National Retail Federation trade group wants retailers to adopt a nationwide policy that requires customers to wear masks, and hopes Walmart’s decision to do so would galvanize other companies to take similar action, reports Reuters.

“Shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk,” the NRF says.

We will be told that this is just a “temporary” thing, but at what point will we be able to start shopping without masks again?

It certainly won’t be any time in 2020.  This week, CDC director Robert Redfield said that he anticipated that this fall and winter “are probably going to be one of the most difficult times that we’ve experienced in American public health”…

I am worried. I do think the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are probably going to be one of the most difficult times that we’ve experienced in American public health because of what you said — the co-occurrence of Covid and influenza, and this is where I’d like to continue to work with you to get the American public to embrace the influenza vaccine so we can try to minimize the impact of inluenza, because I think those two respiratory pathogens hitting us at the same time do have the potential to stress our health system.

Ultimately, we will probably be forced to wear masks until the pandemic ends.

But what if this pandemic lasts for years?

A couple days ago, I authored an article in which I discussed three separate scientific studies which all showed that COVID-19 antibodies disappear very, very rapidly.  In fact, some patients no longer had detectable antibodies just weeks after originally testing positive for antibodies.

What this means is that it appears that COVID-19 is very similar to many other less dangerous coronaviruses that are floating around out there.  Just like there is no lasting immunity to “the common cold”, there also appears to be no lasting immunity to COVID-19.

That means that no “vaccine” is going to save us, we will never get to the point of “herd immunity”, and this virus will circulate all over the globe year after year.

So does this mean that wearing masks will now become a permanent requirement in our society?

We should certainly hope that won’t be the case, but unfortunately we aren’t the ones making the decisions.

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.

There Are Nationwide Shortages Of Aluminum Cans, Soda, Flour, Canned Soup, Pasta And Rice

I had no idea that things had gotten so bad.  Earlier today, my wife spoke with the manager of a local grocery store because she wanted to place a large order for some canned goods.  What she was told surprised her, and it certainly surprised me.  The manager of this local grocery store told her that there are numerous nationwide shortages going on at this moment, and he indicated that there are lots of products that he simply cannot get right now.  When my wife told me what he had said, I decided that I had to look into this, because I hadn’t heard that canned goods were in short supply.  Well, it turns out that the manager that my wife spoke with was right on target, and that should deeply alarm all of us.

One thing that my wife was specifically told was that there is a nationwide shortage of aluminum cans, and this is having a tremendous impact on the soda industry.

In fact, things have gotten so bad that Coca-Cola has been forced to publicly address the situation

Coke Life, Mello Yellow, Sprite Zero, Fresca and more. These are among some of the products you may have had trouble locating on store shelves in recent weeks.

And you’re not alone.

When asked about the situation, Coca-Cola told one Twitter follower: “We are seeing greater demand for products consumed at home & taking measures to adapt, working to mitigate the challenge during this unprecedented time. We appreciate your loyalty to our beverages; please know that we’re working hard to keep the products you love on the shelves.”

Apparently the big reason why there is a shortage is because people are consuming far more beverages at home than usual, and this has created a huge demand for canned drinks.

Right now, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are primarily focusing on using their limited supplies of aluminum cans to produce their core products, and this has made less popular flavors very difficult to find

Both Coca Cola and Pepsi have reportedly been forced to focus on their most popular flavors in order to keep them in stock, making the less popular flavors harder to find for the time being.

Unfortunately, we aren’t just facing a shortage of aluminum cans.

According to the Wall Street Journal, some of the biggest food manufacturers in America are admitting that there are nationwide shortages of “flour, canned soup, pasta and rice”…

Grocers are having trouble staying stocked with goods from flour to soups as climbing coronavirus case numbers and continued lockdowns pressure production and bolster customer demand.

Manufacturers including General Mills Inc., Campbell Soup Co. and Conagra Brands Inc. say they are pumping out food as fast as they can, but can’t replenish inventories. Popular items such as flour, canned soup, pasta and rice remain in short supply.

Of course those are precisely some of the key items that preppers tend to stock up on.

I think that millions of Americans can sense what is coming, and they are gathering supplies while they still can.

Meanwhile, the nationwide coin shortage continues to get even worse.

This week, I was stunned to learn that Kroger has announced that it will “no longer return coin change to customers”

If you pay with cash at one of Kroger’s cashier checkouts, you won’t be getting coin change for a while, and it’s indirectly due to the coronavirus.

Kroger spokesperson Erin Rofles confirmed Friday the grocer will no longer return coin change to customers. Instead, the remainders from cash transactions will be applied to customers’ loyalty cards and automatically used on their next purchase.

That is serious.

This coin shortage is being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is likely to last for as long as this pandemic persists.

If we have already gotten to the point where the federal government is unable to produce enough coins for all of our businesses, how long will it be before we start witnessing a shortage of dollar bills?

At this point, even Walmart is acknowledging the stress that the nationwide coin shortage is putting on their operations

Walmart has also been impacted been the shortage. In a statement to WMAZ, Walmart spokesperson Avani Dudhia, “Like most retailers, we’re experiencing the affects of the nation-wide coin shortage. We’re asking customers to pay with card or use correct change when possible if they need to pay with cash.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has also deeply affected the meat processing industry.  Numerous meat processing facilities all over the nation have been shut down in recent weeks, and this has limited supplies and pushed up prices.

In fact, we saw some pretty dramatic price increases during the month of June

Once again, meat prices went up.

Overall, beef and veal prices rose 4.8%. Pork prices grew 3.3% and bacon got 8.1% more expensive. Hot dog prices grew 4.9%.

I have repeatedly warned my readers that meat prices were going to go up substantially, and so hopefully a lot of you out there stocked up before the price increases hit.

What we have been witnessing over the first half of 2020 should be a major league wake up call for all of us, because it has become clear that our system is far more vulnerable to shocks than most people ever imagined.

If COVID-19 can cause this much chaos, what is going to happen when a crisis that is far more severe comes along?

Even though I write about this stuff on a constant basis, I was stunned when my wife told me that we couldn’t get the canned goods that we wanted because a nationwide shortage was happening.

It has become very difficult to keep up with how fast things are changing, and I expect events to accelerate even more as we head toward the end of 2020 and beyond.

If you still need to get stocked up for all the chaos that is coming, I would do so quickly, because supplies are only going to get tighter the worse things get.

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.

“Lockdown 2.0”: This New Wave Of Lockdowns Will Ensure The U.S. Remains In An Economic Depression Through The 2020 Election

Another wave of lockdowns has begun, and that is really bad news for the U.S. economy.  The first wave of lockdowns resulted in the permanent closing of more than 100,000 U.S. businesses, colossal lines at food banks around the nation, and the loss of tens of millions of jobs.  Needless to say, this new wave of lockdowns will make things even worse, and some are speculating that this is precisely what Democrats want.  If the U.S. economy continues to fall apart as we approach the election in November, the thinking is that this will make President Trump look bad and will make it more likely that people will cast votes for Democrats.  But there is also the possibility that this could backfire in a huge way for the left.  If millions of Americans start to identify the Democrats as “the party of the lockdowns”, that could actually greatly help President Trump in November.

At this point, the battle lines are becoming quite clear.  President Trump and other top Republicans are strongly against more lockdowns, but Democratic politicians in many areas of the country are starting to institute them anyway.  In fact, we just learned that all schools in Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta and Nashville will be closed at the beginning of the new school year…

Resisting pressure from President Donald Trump, three of the nation’s largest school districts said Monday that they will begin the new school year with all students learning from home.

Schools in Los Angeles, San Diego and Atlanta will begin entirely online, officials said Monday. Schools in Nashville plan to do the same, at least through Labor Day.

Other major cities are expected to follow suit.  Of course considering the quality of the education in most of our public schools, most of those kids won’t exactly be missing too much.

Ultimately, closing the schools won’t have too much of an economic impact, but shutting down most of the businesses in our largest state certainly will.  On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a comprehensive lockdown for 30 California counties which account for “about 80 percent of California’s population”

Newsom, a Democrat, announced during a press briefing that all bars across the state must close up shop and that restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and card rooms must suspend indoor activities.

The governor also announced that all gyms, places of worship, malls, personal care services, barbershops, salons, and non-critical offices in counties on the state’s “monitoring list” had to shut down under the new order. The order affects more than 30 counties which are home to about 80 percent of California’s population.

Newsom is a political opportunist, and I guarantee you that he wouldn’t be doing this unless he truly believed that it would help Democrats in November.

But I think that Newsom and other top Democrats have greatly underestimated how much the American people detest COVID-19 restrictions at this point.  We have been witnessing a huge backlash all over the country, and even though California is far more liberal than most other states, a backlash has been brewing there as well.

If the Democrats are not very careful, they are going to lose an election that they could have very easily won.

First of all, they should have never nominated Joe Biden.  It is obvious to everyone that he is physically and mentally declining at a very rapid pace, and videos of him “acting creepy” will be viewed millions upon millions of times over the coming months.  Democrats have known about Biden’s creepy behavior for many years, but they decided to give the nomination to him anyway.

Secondly, most top Democrats have refused to strongly denounce the rioting, looting and violence that have happened around the nation, and this is going to push a whole lot of people toward the Republicans.

Thirdly, the backlash against these new lockdowns is going to be directed primarily toward Democrats.  If Democratic politicians push too far, this will be an issue that deeply hurts them in November.

But despite all of these mistakes, it is possible that the Democrats could still come out on top, because Trump and the Republicans are making lots of political mistakes as well.

If Trump wants to make a comeback in the polls, he really needs to fully embrace an anti-lockdown message, because that would strongly resonate with tens of millions of voters.

The first wave of lockdowns certainly didn’t stop the spread of the virus, and more lockdowns will not stop it from spreading either.  And now three separate scientific studies have shown that COVID-19 antibodies disappear very, very rapidly, and that means that a vaccine is not going to end this crisis and we will never reach a point of “herd immunity”.  So we are going to have to find a way to function effectively as this virus circulates around the globe year after year, because it isn’t going to go away.

We simply cannot shut down the economy every time the number of cases starts to surge again.  The damage that we have already done to the U.S. economy has been incalculable, and now these new lockdowns will do even more damage.

But the WHO continues to insist that more restrictions are needed

“Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from the U.N. agency’s headquarters in Geneva.

“If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go – it is going to get worse and worse and worse.”

What would the WHO have us do?

Would they like us to all lock ourselves in our homes indefinitely?

The WHO keeps touting a future vaccine, but if COVID-19 antibodies disappear after just a few months, there is no way that a vaccine is going to end this pandemic.

And many Americans will never, ever take any COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstances.

As I discussed in an article that I posted earlier, it looks like we are just going to have to accept the fact that COVID-19 is going to be around year after year.

It is easy for the “experts” to tell us that everyone should just stay home, but the price tag for the first wave of lockdowns was astronomical.  Thanks to all of the emergency measures that Congress passed, the U.S. government ran a budget deficit of 864 billion dollars in the month of June…

The US budget deficit surged to a record-breaking $864 billion in June, the Treasury Department said on Monday. The increase is the product of the federal government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

The government collected about $240 billion in tax revenue in June, the Treasury said, and federal spending overall reached $1.1 trillion.

To put that in perspective, it took from the founding of our nation until 1980 for the U.S. government to accumulate a total of 864 billion dollars of debt.

And now we have added that much to the national debt in just one month.

We simply cannot keep doing this.

No matter what we do, COVID-19 is going to keep spreading, and we are going to have to learn how to deal with this virus for a very long time to come.

More lockdowns are definitely not the answer, but unfortunately many of our politicians are convinced otherwise.

So U.S. economic conditions will continue to deteriorate, and the economic depression that began earlier this year will continue through the end of 2020 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.

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.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly From The Latest U.S. Employment Numbers

Is the U.S. economy starting to rebound from the massive downturn that the coronavirus lockdowns caused?  Some new employment numbers were released on Thursday, and they were very interesting.  Many are boldly declaring that these new numbers are fantastic news for the U.S. economy, but that is greatly oversimplifying matters.  So far in 2020, tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and we knew that millions of those jobs would eventually come back as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.  And on Thursday, we received confirmation that millions of those jobs are indeed coming back

Nonfarm payrolls soared by 4.8 million in June and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1% as the U.S. continued its reopening from the coronavirus pandemic, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Without a doubt, this is good news.  But it also appears that the numbers are not entirely accurate, and we will discuss that more in just a bit.

But first, I wanted to point out that the main reason why payrolls rose by 4.8 million was because the number of Americans that were classified as being temporarily laid off declined by 4.8 million last month.  At the same time, the number of permanent job losses last month actually rose by more than half a million compared to the month before…

Another big contributor to the decline of the jobless rate was a plunge in those on temporary layoff. That total fell by 4.8 million in June to 10.6 million after a decrease of 2.7 million in May. The short-term jobless level fell by 1 million to 2.8 million.

However, those reporting permanent job losses also jumped, rising by 588,000 to 2.883 million, the highest level in more than six years.

This is clearly bad news.  It was expected that millions of those that had been temporarily laid off would start going back to their old jobs, but what we didn’t expect was a huge spike in the number of permanent job losses.

And now let’s get to the “ugly” portion of the numbers.

On Thursday, we learned that 1.427 million more Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, and the number of unemployed workers filing continuing claims actually went up…

Indeed, new jobless claims remained stubbornly high last week, with another 1.427 million Americans filing, above the estimate of 1.38 million, the Labor Department said in a separate report Thursday. Continuing claims actually increased by 59,000 to 19.3 million, highlighting the jobless problem likely exacerbated by the ongoing presence of the virus and its economic impact.

That is not what a “recovering” economy looks like.

In fact, those numbers are absolutely abysmal.

I keep reminding my readers that prior to this year the all-time record for new unemployment claims was set in 1982 when 695,000 Americans filed in a single week.  The number for last week was more than double that old record, and we have now more than doubled that old record for 15 weeks in a row.

Can anyone out there explain to me how the economy is possibly “recovering” when Americans continue to file for unemployment at levels that are way beyond anything that we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history?

Overall, more than 48 million Americans have now filed new claims for unemployment benefits over the past 15 weeks.

But the Bureau of Labor Statistics would have us believe that only 17.75 million Americans are currently unemployed even though the number of Americans that are filing continuing claims for unemployment is far greater than that.  This point was brilliantly made by Zero Hedge earlier today…

By its very definition, insured unemployment is a subset of all Americans who are unemployed. In a Venn diagram, the Continuing Claims circle would fit entirely inside the “Unemployed” circle, which also includes Initial Claims, Continuing Claims, and countless other unemployed Americans who are no longer eligible for any benefits.

Alas, as of this moment, the definitionally smaller circle is bigger than “bigger” one, and as the DOL reported todaythere were 19.29 million workers receiving unemployment insurance. And yet, somehow, at the same time the BLS also represented that the total number of unemployed workers is, drumroll, 17.75 million.

If you said this makes no sense, and pointed out that the unemployment insurance number has to be smaller than the total unemployed number, then you are right. And indeed, for 50 years of data, that was precisely the case.

By putting out such absurd numbers, the BLS is starting lose any credibility that it had left, and that is incredibly sad.

Meanwhile, fear of the coronavirus is causing some states to start instituting fresh restrictions, and it appears that this is causing U.S. economic activity to slow down once again

High-frequency data assembled by Federal Reserve officials, economists, cellphone tracking companies, and employee time management firms suggests activity slowed in recent days, clouding a strong U.S. employment report that may prove to have been driven by an exuberant start to the month as states reopened.

In other words, we should expect the economic numbers for July to be quite dismal.

Right now, a fresh wave of fear is sweeping across the nation.  The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surged dramatically in recent days, and according to Gallup more Americans than ever believe that the pandemic is “getting worse”…

As coronavirus infections are spiking in U.S. states that previously had not been hard-hit, a new high of 65% of U.S. adults say the coronavirus situation is getting worse. The percentage of Americans who believe the situation is getting worse has increased from 48% the preceding week, and from 37% two weeks prior.

What this means is that economic activity is going to remain at very depressed levels for the foreseeable future.

Without enough revenue coming in, more businesses will fail and more workers will lose their jobs.  Without jobs, many Americans will not be able to pay their bills, and this will put an immense amount of pressure on financial institutions.

The truth is that the economic outlook has not improved one bit.  If anything, it has actually deteriorated over the past couple of weeks.

Fear of COVID-19 has plunged us into a new economic depression, and it looks like fear of COVID-19 will keep us in one for the rest of 2020 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.

Close To Half Of All Working Age Adults In The United States Do Not Have A Job Right Now

There is a lot of talk about the “unemployment rate” these days, but the way that it is calculated has become so convoluted that it is not really that meaningful anymore.  Even during the so-called “good times”, more than 100 million U.S. adults were not working, but we were told that the unemployment rate was the lowest that it had been in decades.  Of course now everything has changed.  Since this pandemic began, more than 47 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits, and the mainstream media is going to make sure that fear of COVID-19 continues to paralyze our society for the foreseeable future.

In this article, I would like to discuss the employment-population ratio.  According to Wikipedia, the employment-population ratio is “a statistical ratio that measures the proportion of the country’s working age population that is employed”.  I believe that it is a far more accurate measurement than the “unemployment rate” is, and we have seen this ratio move quite dramatically over the past couple of months.  According to CNBC, the employment-population ratio hit 52.8 percent in May, and that means that 47.2 percent of all working age Americans did not have a job…

Nearly half of the population is still out of a job showing just how far the U.S. labor market has to heal in the wake of the coronavirus.

The employment-population ratio — the number of employed people as a percentage of the U.S. adult population — plunged to 52.8% in May, meaning 47.2% of Americans are jobless, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the coronavirus-induced shutdowns tore through the labor market, the share of population employed dropped sharply from a recent high of 61.2% in January, farther away from a post-war record of 64.7% in 2000.

As you can see on this chart, we are definitely in unchartered territory.

We have never seen a collapse of this magnitude in all of U.S. history, and it has been truly horrifying to watch so many people lose their jobs.

It would be difficult to overstate just how far we have fallen.  One analyst has pointed out that it would take 30 million new jobs for the employment-population ratio to return to the peak that we witnessed all the way back in 2000…

“To get the employment-to-population ratio back to where it was at its peak in 2000 we need to create 30 million jobs,” Torsten Slok, Deutsche Bank’s chief economist, said in an email.

Of course before we can start adding jobs we have got to stop the bleeding first, and at this point more than a million Americans continue to file new claims for unemployment benefits each and every week.

And more job losses are coming, because companies are shutting down at a staggering rate.  In fact, this week USA Today warned that “experts believe this is just the beginning of a bankruptcy tsunami that will wash over the country’s largest companies this summer”…

Twelve midsize to large corporations – all with more than $10 million in debt – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection during the third week of June, another consequence of the coronavirus pandemic and continued trouble in America’s oil industry.

The filings represent the highest weekly total of the year, and experts believe this is just the beginning of a bankruptcy tsunami that will wash over the country’s largest companies this summer and then drench both smaller businesses and individuals if government stimulus money dries up.

Those two paragraphs almost sound like something that I could have written.

But at this point it is very difficult for anyone to deny how bad things have become.  So many firms are suddenly going bankrupt that it is impossible to keep up with them all, and the energy industry is being hit particularly hard

At least 24 oil and gas companies filed from April through June – nearly twice as many as during the first three months of the year, according to Haynes and Boone LLP, an international law firm based in Texas. Four of those companies – Texas-based NorthEast Gas Generation, Colorado-based Extraction Oil & Gas, and Chisolm Oil and Gas and Chesapeake Energy, which are both from Oklahoma – filed in the last two weeks of June.

“This trend should continue through the remainder of 2020 and into 2021,” said Charles Beckham, a partner in Haynes and Boone’s restructuring practice.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is experiencing severe economic pain.

COVID-19 has paralyzed economies all over the planet, and global trade has dropped precipitously

World trade in goods plunged by 12% in April from March, after having already dropped 2.4% in March from February. This plunge of the Merchandise World Trade Monitor, released by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, was by far the largest month-to-month drop in the history of the data going back to 2000.

For such a long time, many were warning that “the next global depression” was coming, and now it is here.

Many of the economic optimists had been hoping for a very short downturn followed by a “V-shaped recovery”, but now it has become clear that is simply not going to happen.

The primary factor dragging our economy down is fear of COVID-19, and the mainstream media continues to add to that fear day after day.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen a surge of new cases in some portions of the U.S., and this has caused quite a few states to put a hold on their reopening plans

At least 14 states have paused or rolled back their reopening plans as the United States sees a surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

With July 4 celebrations approaching, officials are trying not to repeat scenes from Memorial Day, when thousands flocked to beaches, bars and parties while experts cautioned that crowds could lead to spikes in cases down the road.

I wish that I could tell you that things will soon get much better for the U.S. economy, but I can’t.

Yes, there will be ups and downs during the months ahead, but a return to “normal” is certainly not in the cards.

So I would definitely encourage everyone to use this window of opportunity to get prepared for rough times ahead, because we are about to see things happen that we have never seen before.

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.

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