The Collapse Will Be Visible: “For Lease” And “Space Available” Signs Are Starting To Go Up All Over America

Initially, we were told that the coronavirus lockdowns would just “temporarily” disrupt the U.S. economy, but now it is becoming clear that a lot of the damage will be permanent.  We are starting to see businesses go belly up all over the country, and this includes some of the most iconic names in the retail world.  When J.C. Penney announced that it would be declaring bankruptcy and closing hundreds of stores, I warned that would just be the tip of the iceberg, and that has definitely turned out to be the case.  In fact, on Wednesday many analysts were absolutely shocked when news broke that Victoria’s Secret has decided to shut down about 250 stores

Victoria’s Secret plans to permanently close approximately 250 stores in the U.S. and Canada in 2020, its parent company L Brands announced Wednesday.

L Brands also plans to permanently close 50 Bath & Body Works stores in the U.S. and one in Canada, according to information the company posted online as part of its quarterly earnings.

If this pandemic had passed quickly, perhaps those stores wouldn’t have needed to be shut down.  But at this point it has become obvious that this virus is going to be with us for a long time to come.  In fact, the WHO just announced that on a global basis we just witnessed the largest number of newly confirmed cases on a single day so far.

Another major retailer that is closing down stores is Pier 1 Imports.  In fact, it is being reported that not a single one of their locations will survive

Pier 1 Imports, which previously said it would close half of its fleet of stores, now plans to close all of its locations.

The retailer, based in Fort Worth, Texas, announced in a news release Tuesday that it was seeking bankruptcy court approval to begin an “orderly wind-down” when stores are able to reopen “following the government-mandated closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

I was never a huge fan of Pier 1 Imports, but my wife liked to visit and see what they had, but now we will never be able to do that again.

Something about that really saddens me.

Of course it isn’t just retailers that are collapsing.  Car rental giant Hertz “is on the verge of bankrutpcy”, and things are not looking good at all…

Hertz is on the verge of bankruptcy. At the end of April, it disclosed it had missed a large amount of lease payments on its rental cars. Since then, it has entered into forbearance and waiver agreements with these lenders that give it until May 22 to come up with the money and a plan. Its cars, now parked at various parking lots around the country, are collateral for this debt.

Some of you old timers might remember the old Hertz commercials featuring O.J. Simpson.  Those were much simpler times, and to be honest I really miss them.

Unfortunately, times have really changed, and I seriously doubt that Hertz will be able to survive much longer in this very harsh economic environment.

Needless to say, a lot of businesses are going to die in the weeks and months ahead of us.  As I discussed the other day, it is now being projected that approximately one out of every four restaurants in the United States will be closing down permanently.

Can you imagine what this is going to look like?

We are going to have abandoned buildings all over the place, and this will especially be true in our more impoverished communities.

The only chance we have of pulling out of this economic death spiral is if there is a full scale return to normal economic activity all across America, but that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

Fear of COVID-19 is going to paralyze small and big businesses alike for the foreseeable future, and every new outbreak is going to spark more overreactions.

For instance, Ford just shut down two major production facilities just a few days after “reopening” them

Just days after reopening its American assembly plants, Ford temporarily shut down two separate factories because employees tested positive for Covid-19.

One plant in Chicago that builds the Ford Explorer, the Lincoln Aviator and the Ford Interceptor police car stopped operations Tuesday afternoon after two employees tested positive for Covid-19. Then, Ford’s plant in Dearborn Michigan that makes its bestselling F-150 pickup, shut down Wednesday.

If we keep shutting things down every time someone gets sick, our economic problems are just going to get worse and worse.

Look, the truth is that lots more people are going to get sick and lots more people are going to die.  In fact, one new study has concluded that the U.S. death toll will more than triple by the end of 2020 “even if current social distancing habits continue for months on end”

A new study suggests the number of Americans who will die after contracting the novel coronavirus is likely to more than triple by the end of the year, even if current social distancing habits continue for months on end.

The study, conducted by the Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy and Economics Institute at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, found that 1.3 percent of those who show symptoms of COVID-19 die, an infection fatality rate that is 13 times higher than a bad influenza season.

Of course it certainly doesn’t help that we continue to allow people from other countries where COVID-19 is raging to fly into the U.S. without any special screening whatsoever

A glamorous Russian blogger says she has proved that the US is open for foreign tourism again, despite the pandemic, according to video obtained by DailyMail.com.

Sofia Semyonova, 33, a fitness model, told how she traveled on a crammed Aeroflot flight with 500-plus passengers with ‘no social distancing’ from Moscow to New York City.

She used her B2 tourist visa to enter America from Russia’s coronavirus epicentre ‘in 30 seconds without any extra questions’.

I don’t know how this could possibly be happening, but apparently it is.

Eventually, COVID-19 will literally be just about everywhere, and almost everyone in the entire country will be exposed to it.

And fear of this virus will paralyze our economy for the foreseeable future.

So the truth is that the “for lease” and “space available” signs that you are now seeing are just the start.

A lot more are coming, and it is going to be a very dark chapter for our nation.

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.

“Free Money”: Most Americans Want The Government To Issue More Stimulus Checks

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”  That is a direct quote from Benjamin Franklin, and it has turned out to be quite prophetic.  Today, most of our politicians are socialists whether they accept that label or not, and the American people have come to expect the government “to do something for them” whenever any sort of a crisis comes along.  In response to this COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has borrowed and spent trillions more dollars that we do not have, and most Americans have been quite thrilled to receive their “stimulus checks”.  But of course now a lot of people are insisting that those checks were not enough and they want more.  In fact, one new survey just found that most Americans want the checks to keep coming.  The idea of “free money” is so seductive, but unfortunately most of the population simply does not understand that eventually there is a great price to be paid for throwing “free money” around.

So far, more than 300,000 people across the globe have died during this pandemic.  But during the Spanish Flu pandemic that stretched from 1918 to 1920, somewhere between 50 million and 100 million people died.  During that horrific pandemic, our society did not shut down and the federal government did not borrow and spend giant mountains of money in a desperate attempt to keep the economy afloat.  Instead, our leaders responded with common sense and quiet resolve, and it set the stage for a tremendous economic boom during “the Roaring Twenties”.

Unfortunately, this time around our leaders responded to COVID-19 by locking down nearly the entire country, and that is going to result in the largest GDP collapse in American history

In its latest projections, the CBO sees GDP capsizing 38% on an annualized basis in the second quarter with the 26 million more unemployed Americans than there were at the end of 2019.

The forecasts are roughly in line with Wall Street economists and slightly less dour than the most recent tracking number from the Atlanta Federal Reserve, which sees GDP falling about 42% in the April-to-June period.

Without a doubt, we are now in a very deep economic depression, and the months ahead look very bleak.

But instead of focusing on solutions, many Americans are desperate for the federal government to take care of them.  According to one recent survey, 82 percent of Americans want the government to issue more “stimulus checks”…

A whopping 82% of people feel that the one-time stimulus check of $1,200 is not enough to cover their expenses. They feel that these checks should continue until the lockdown ends.

I have a hard time believing that number is actually that high, but even if you cut that number in half it would still be astounding.

Have we now reached a point where much of the nation is eager to embrace full-blown socialism?

Apparently so, and that is quite discouraging.

But the “free money” that socialists promise is never actually free.

When the Federal Reserve creates trillions of dollars out of thin air and pumps it into the financial system, that is not “free money”.

And when the federal government borrows and spends trillions of dollars that we do not currently have, that is not “free money”.  In essence, we are stealing that money from future generations of Americans, and what we are doing is beyond criminal.  For much more on that, please see my recent article entitled “Fear Of The Coronavirus Has Absolutely Destroyed America’s Future”.

Whenever a new dollar is introduced into the system, it erodes the value of all dollars that currently exist.  Usually this is a relatively slow process, but now our leaders have gone absolutely nuts and very painful inflation is on the way.

In fact, in some sectors of the economy it is already here

Harold’s Chicken on Broadway in Chicago unleashed a wave of public backlash on social media last weekend after it slapped customers with a COVID-19 surcharge of 26%.

Restaurant manager Jacquelyn Santana told CBS Chicago that food suppliers raised wholesale chicken prices by 26% on Saturday “due to the COVID pandemic.” She said a case of chicken wings that generally cost $60, jumped overnight to $90, forcing the wing shop to pass on the costs.

The cost of living is going to be soaring, and most Americans will not be seeing matching increases in their paychecks.

In fact, more than 36 million American workers no longer have a job at all.

Things are about to get really tough for average American families.  Some are going into more debt in order to get through this crisis, while others are dipping into their retirement savings

MagnifyMoney commissioned a survey of 1,239 Americans who have retirement accounts. Many of the analyses conducted look at responses by the “generation” of the responders. Gen Z is defined as ages 18-23, Millennials are 24-39, Gen X is 40-54, Baby Boomers are 55-74, and the “silent generation” is aged 75+.

The survey shows that 30% of Americans have withdrawn an average of $6,757.20 from their retirement savings from about March 1 through May 1. Another 19% responded that they have not taken money out yet but they plan to do so.

As time goes by, an increasing number of Americans will eventually come to a financial breaking point, and there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on the government “to do something” once again.

And just like we have seen with so many other socialist experiments, the answer will always be more “free money”.

But to see where this ends, just look at Venezuela.  Nearly everyone in the entire country is a “millionaire”, but nearly everyone in the entire country is also living in deep poverty.

Once faith in a currency is destroyed, it is nearly impossible to restore it.

And we are in the process of destroying faith in the reserve currency that the entire world uses.

Unfortunately, our leaders are not listening to people like me.  Instead, they are willing to try just about anything to turn the collapsing U.S. economy around.

At this point, even Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is admitting that this is the worst economic downturn that we have seen “since World War II”

The pair offered a cautious view of the economy, with Mnuchin displaying a more optimistic outlook than Powell, who told the Senate Banking Committee that “the scope and speed of this downturn are without modern precedent and are significantly worse than any recession since World War II.”

Mnuchin noted that he anticipated the economy would recover but said “there is risk of permanent damage” should states wait too long in reopening their economies.

Sadly, things didn’t have to get so bad so soon.

If our leaders had responded rationally to this pandemic, the U.S. economy would still be in relatively decent shape.

But now our economic bubble has burst, and very challenging days are ahead of us.

As our problems mount, a lot of people are going to insist that “free money” is the solution.

Of course it isn’t any sort of a solution at all.  “Free money” is actually economic poison, and the U.S. economy is never going to recover from this.

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.

68% Of Unemployed Workers In The U.S. “Are Eligible For Payments That Are Greater Than Their Lost Earnings”

Can anyone explain how we are going to motivate unemployed workers to go back to work when most of them can actually make more money camped on their sofas watching Netflix?  Over the past couple of months, 36.5 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits, and Congress understandably wanted to do something to address this unprecedented spike in unemployment.  But by giving all of these unemployed workers a repeating 600 dollar bonus on top of existing unemployment benefits, Congress has actually created a very powerful incentive for Americans to be unemployed and to stay unemployed for as long as the bonuses last.  According to a group of prominent economists at the University of Chicago, 68 percent of those that are currently unemployed can now bring home more money than when they were actually employed…

A new analysis by Peter GanongPascal Noel and Joseph Vavra, economists at the University of Chicago,1 uses government data from 2019 to estimate that 68 percent of unemployed workers who can receive benefits are eligible for payments that are greater than their lost earnings. They also found that the estimated median replacement rate — the share of a worker’s original weekly salary that is being replaced by unemployment benefits — is 134 percent, or more than one-third above their original wage.

Of course you don’t have to be bringing home 100 percent of your former income for there to be an incentive to stay unemployed.

For example, if you had a job that you really hated, you would almost certainly jump at the chance to stay home every day and still make 90 percent of what you formerly earned.

So yes, those that had very high paying jobs will be motivated to get back to work, but everyone else will be highly tempted to ride the gravy train for as long as it lasts.

And the less you made when you were actually working, the more intense that temptation will be.

Just consider what restaurant and hotel workers must be thinking about now.  According to CNBC, the average unemployed worker in that industry is now eligible to collect “182% of their previous wages”…

The average worker in this industry, which employs 14 million people, makes $13.45 an hour — the lowest compared with other industries.

These workers would benefit most under the unemployment system when compared to others — collecting 182% of their previous wages, according to a CNBC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and Labor Department data.

Do you think that those workers are going to be eager to get back to their former jobs?

I don’t think so.

Of course the truth is that many of their jobs are never coming back.  According to the Atlantic, “hundreds of thousands of companies” have already collapsed during this economic downturn…

Small-business activity has plunged nationwide by nearly 50 percentHundreds of thousands of companies have already failed. Big retailers such as J.Crew and Neiman Marcus have filed for bankruptcy, while others, including Macy’s, are teetering. By some measures, scarcely one-third of Americans say they are working. Next month’s jobs report will likely show that, for the first time since World War II, a majority of Americans aren’t officially employed.

So the cold, hard reality of the matter is that there simply is not going to be enough jobs for everyone in the United States for the foreseeable future.

And moving forward, a lot more businesses are going to be failing.

Just recently, Facebook conducted a survey of “86,000 small and medium-sized business owners”, and the results of that survey were quite startling…

About a third of small businesses forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic say they won’t be able to reopen due to an inability to pay bills or rent, a Facebook survery has found.

More than half of the business owners surveyed by Facebook have also said they don’t expect to be able to rehire the same amount of workers that they employed prior to the pandemic.

More specifically, the survey discovered that just 45 percent of all small and medium-sized business owners plan to rehire the same number of employees that they previously had.

So that means that millions upon millions of jobs are gone for good.

And of course the environment of fear that COVID-19 has created is going to paralyze new hiring for a long time to come.  If you are an existing business and you are concerned that you may not be able to keep the employees that you already have, that is going to make you extremely hesitant to add anyone new.

The bottom line is that it is going to be exceedingly difficult to find jobs in the months ahead, and the long-term outlook for the newly unemployed is not good at all.

For the moment, those newly unemployed workers are being taken care of by the federal government, but the $600 bonuses are set to expire in July.

If we get to July and those benefits are not extended, we could have a massive national temper tantrum on our hands.

Of course there are many in Congress that are quite eager to extend those benefits, but that would also mean borrowing and spending billions upon billions more dollars that we do not have.

And what happens when an even bigger crisis than COVID-19 comes along?  We are just experiencing the early winds of “the perfect storm” that I portrayed in “The Beginning Of The End”, and most Americans are completely and utterly unprepared for what is coming.

So let’s not be mad at those that have lost their jobs just because they are getting a windfall for a few months.  Instead, let us hold our national leaders accountable for getting us into this mess in the first place.

For decades, our national leaders have been leading us down a road that leads to national oblivion, and now it appears that we are rapidly approaching the end of that road.

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.

10 Numbers That Show The U.S. Has Fallen Into A Horrifying Economic Depression

The last recession was really, really bad, but it was never like this.  It is time for us to face reality, and that means admitting that the U.S. economy has plunged into a depression.  This is already the worst economic downturn that America has experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and we are right in the middle of the largest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin.  Of course it was fear of COVID-19 that burst our economic bubble, and fear of this virus is going to be with us for a very long time to come.  So we need to brace ourselves for an extended economic crisis, and at this point even Time Magazine is openly referring to this new downturn as an “economic depression”.  Needless to say, there will be a tremendous amount of debate about how deep it will eventually become, but everyone should be able to agree that our nation hasn’t seen anything like this since before World War II.

In order to prove my point, let me share the following 10 numbers with you…

#1 According to a study that was just released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 100,000 U.S. businesses have already permanently shut down during this pandemic, and that represents millions of jobs that are never coming back.

#2 The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is now projecting that U.S. GDP will shrink by 42.8 percent during the second quarter…

A new GDP forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for the three months through June estimates an unprecedented drop of 42.8 percent. The bank describes the data as a “nowcast” or real-time, compared with the official government report of GDP, which is dated. The first-quarter preliminary data, which showed a 4.8 percent dip, included a limited period of impact from COVID-19.

#3 On Friday we learned that U.S. retail sales were down 16.4 percent during the month of April, and that is a new all-time record.

#4 U.S. factory output was down 13.7 percent last month, and that was the worst number ever recorded for that category.

#5 U.S. industrial production fell 11.2 percent last month, and that represented the worst number in 101 years.

#6 On Thursday, we learned that the number of Americans that have filed initial claims for unemployment benefits during this pandemic has risen by another 2.9 million, and that brings the grand total for this entire crisis to 36.5 million.  To put that number in perspective, at the lowest point of the Great Depression of the 1930s only about 15 million Americans were unemployed.

#7 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the real rate of unemployment in the U.S. is now 30.7 percent.

#8 According to a survey Fed officials just conducted, almost 40 percent of Americans with a household income of less than $40,000 a year say that they have lost a job during this crisis.

#9 One study has concluded that 42 percent of the job losses during this pandemic will end up being permanent.

#10 According to a professor of economics at Columbia University, the U.S. homeless population could rise by up to 45 percent by the end of this calendar year.

We have never seen economic numbers this horrifying, and more awful economic numbers are coming in the months ahead.

At this point, things are so bad that even Fed Chair Jerome Powell is openly admitting that he doesn’t really know how long this new economic downturn will last…

“This economy will recover…We’ll get through this. It may take a while. It may take a period of time. It could stretch through the end of next year,” Powell said during a rare televised interview that aired on “60 Minutes” Sunday night. “We really don’t know. We hope that it will be shorter than that, but no one really knows.”

In the months ahead, there are a few sectors that you will want to keep a particularly close eye on, and one of them is the commercial real estate market.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Fast forward to today, coronavirus outbreak, and the ensuing lockdown, has essentially frozen the commercial real estate market. Buildings that were once used for restaurants, offices, hotels, spas, and or anything else that is classified non-essential have seen soaring vacancies.

This is single handily sending the commercial property market into chaos. As vacancies soar, tremendous downward pressure is being put on almost every asset class tied to commercial real estate.

The latest TREPP remittance data compiled by Morgan Stanley showed a quarter of all commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) could be on the verge of default.

I am personally convinced that we are on the precipice of the greatest commercial real estate implosion in American history.

As the dominoes tumble, it is going to send wave after wave of devastation through the financial industry, and it is going to make the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008 look like child’s play.

But at least bankruptcy lawyers will have plenty of work.  Last week we learned that J.C. Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and of course the bankruptcies that we have seen so far will just be the tip of the iceberg.

I think that politicians all over America are going to deeply regret overreacting to COVID-19, because nobody is going to be able to put the pieces back together now that our economic bubble has burst.

Sadly, very few people understood how shaky our debt-fueled economic “boom” was, and ultimately it didn’t take that much to push us into a new economic depression.

And now every additional crisis that comes along is just going to escalate our economic troubles.  This is going to be one very long nightmare, and there will be no waking up from it any time soon.

Even before COVID-19 came along, homelessness had become a massive problem in many of our major cities, and now tent cities are rapidly multiplying in size.

There is going to be so much economic pain in the months ahead, and it could have all been avoided if we had made much different choices as a nation.

But we didn’t, and so now we all get to pay the price.

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.

The U.S. Is Caught In An Economic Death Spiral, And One Group Is Being Hit Particularly Hard…

Many have been warning for years that our economic bubble would eventually burst and that a collapse was inevitably coming, but the ferocity of this new economic crisis has caught just about everyone off guard.  And even though some states have been attempting to “reopen” their economies in recent days, the job loss tsunami just continues to roll on.  Prior to this year, the all-time record for the most new unemployment claims in a single week was 695,000.  That record was set all the way back in 1982, and it had survived all the way until 2020.  But now we have been absolutely dwarfing that number week after week.  On Thursday, we learned that another 2.9 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week, and that brings the grand total for this pandemic to more than 36 million

New filings for unemployment claims totaled just shy of 3 million for the most recent reporting period, a number that while still high declined for the sixth straight week, according to Labor Department figures Thursday.

The total 2.981 million new claims for unemployment insurance filed last week brought the coronavirus crisis total to nearly 36.5 million, by far the biggest loss in U.S. history. The count announced last week count was revised up by 7,000 to 3.176 million, putting the weekly decline at 195,000 between the two most recent reports.

To put that in perspective, at the lowest point of the Great Depression only 15 million Americans were unemployed.

Of course our population is quite a bit larger today, and so it isn’t a straightforward comparison.

But what everyone can agree on is the fact that we have never seen a two month spike in unemployment like this in all of U.S. history.

And according to the Federal Reserve, low income workers are getting hit harder than anyone else…

The Federal Reserve Bank on Thursday reported just how unequally the coronavirus-induced economic downturn is hitting Americans.

On one hand, lower-income people are getting slammed. Nearly 40% of those with a household income below $40,000 reported a job loss in March, according to the Economic Well-Being of US Households report.

Sadly, this is what seems to happen every time that there is an economic downturn.

The powerless people on the bottom of the food chain get hurt the most, but the fat cats with political influence are able to get the big bailouts.

Millions of newly unemployed low income workers used to be employed by the restaurant industry, but that industry has been absolutely decimated by this crisis…

The National Restaurant Association says some $30 billion was lost by its members in March, and $50 billion in April.

In the last week alone, several restaurants have announced that they won’t re-open, including the buffet chain Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, Jen’s Grill in Chicago and Ristorant Franchino, which has been serving patrons in the San Francisco area for over 32 years.

Of course most restaurant closings will never even make the news because they are small independent operations without corporate backing.

In the days ahead, we are going to see a “restaurant apocalypse” like we have never seen before in American history.  If you can believe it, one industry expert just told Bloomberg that about one-fourth of all U.S. restaurants will be closing down permanently…

Your favorite restaurant, now closed or only accepting take out orders due to the coronavirus, may never reopen, according to a top exec with reservation service OpenTable.

Steve Hafner, CEO of Booking Holdings’ OpenTable and travel site Kayak, told Bloomberg that one out of every four restaurants won’t come back.

This is truly a great tragedy, and it is going to be so depressing to see so many buildings sitting empty in communities all across the nation.

And things will be much, much different for the restaurants that are able to stay open.  For example, just check out the changes that are happening at McDonald’s

When McDonald’s restaurants reopen their dining rooms, customers should expect stickers on the floor encouraging social distancing and the closure of self-serve beverage bars. Workers wearing masks might check in with a thumbs up, or kindly ask you to move away from others.

If that is what a trip to McDonald’s is going to be like, I don’t think that I will be visiting one for a long time to come.

What we really need is for the country to try to return to normal, but in some of the more liberal areas of the U.S. that is not going to happen for the foreseeable future.

So the U.S. economy will continue to be caught in this death spiral, and Fed Chair Jay Powell is warning that we could soon see a “wave of bankruptcies” from coast to coast…

Federal Reserve Chief Jay Powell warned Wednesday of a potential “wave of bankruptcies” that could cause lasting harm to the world’s largest economy, and said more fiscal support may be needed to prevent the devastation, despite the massive cost.

Powell, who has launched a host of key programs to support credit markets and provide funds directly to companies, said there are limits to how far the Fed can go.

In particular, keep a close eye on the commercial real estate industry.

In order to service their loans, owners of commercial property need to successfully collect rent from their tenants, and right now many of those tenants are not able to pay.

For example, just look at the numbers that one New York City commercial landlord is reporting

A major New York City commercial landlord collected just 73 percent of its April office rent from tenants, with an increasing number defaulting on payments amid growing uncertainty over whether corporate buildings will become a thing of the past.

Empire State Realty Trust, owner of the Empire State Building, collected only 73 percent of its office rents and 46 percent of its retail rents due in April.

Unless there is some sort of a bailout, we are going to see commercial real estate carnage on a scale that is far greater than anything we have ever seen before.

Of course just about every industry needs a bailout at this point, and not everyone is going to get one.

Fear of COVID-19 did not create the conditions for this new economic crisis, but it did finally burst the debt-fueled economic bubble that was keeping conditions relatively stable the past few years.

Now that our economy has begun to spiral out of control, nobody is going to be able to put the pieces back together again, and the truth is that this is just the very beginning of our problems.

So many of the things that I have been warning about are starting to happen, and without a doubt our economy will continue to fall apart in the months ahead, but that does not mean that your life is over.

Yes, the days ahead will be exceedingly challenging, but heroes are born when things are at their darkest.

God has a plan for you, and I encourage you to be open to that no matter how radical that plan may turn out to be.

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.

Economic Catastrophe: Millions Upon Millions Of Jobs That Have Been Lost Are Never Coming Back

Do you personally know people that have lost jobs in 2020?  I do, and I am not sure what to tell them.  As is the case all over the U.S. right now, there is hope that some of the jobs will still be there when the lockdowns end, but in other cases it looks like the jobs are gone for good.  And since virtually nobody is hiring right now, finding new jobs is certainly not going to be easy, and there will be millions of others competing for the few jobs that open up.  Of course there will be some that will decide that being a government “contact tracer” is better than not being able to pay the bills, and the mainstream media is aggressively promoting those jobs right now.  But what most unemployed workers really want is to go back to their old jobs, but unfortunately many of them will never be able to do so.

According to a new study that was just released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a whopping 42 percent of the jobs that have been lost during this crisis are likely to have been lost permanently…

Many of the coronavirus pandemic layoffs will become permanent job losses, according to a new study with alarming implications for the future of the economy.

Forty-two percent of workers experiencing recent layoffs will suffer permanent job losses, according to a paper circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Wow.

So let’s take a moment and do a little math.

Over the past 7 weeks, 33.5 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits.

42 percent of 33.5 million is just over 14 million, and that represents almost 10 percent of all the jobs in the entire economy before this pandemic began.

Of course more Americans continue to lose jobs with each passing week.

For example, last week thousands of Uber employees were abruptly terminated during a three minute Zoom call

Thousands of Uber employees learned that they were being laid off in a three-minute Zoom call last week.

The ride-sharing company informed 3,500 people who worked in customer service and recruitment around the country that it would be their last day working for Uber on the live call.

Could you imagine being one of those employees?

There is no loyalty in corporate America today.  When the time comes, they will ruthlessly cut ties with even their most hard working employees without even a moment of hesitation.

Uber’s Ruffin Chaveleau was given the task of letting these workers go, and there was no mincing of words

Chevaleau told staff: ‘Our rides business is down by more than half. There is not enough work for many frontline customer support employees. [As a result] we are eliminating 3,500 frontline customer support roles.

‘Your role is impacted and today will be your last working day with Uber. You will remain on payroll until the date noted in your severance package.’

Do you think those jobs are coming back?

Of course not.

They are gone for good, and the company as a whole is going to have a very tough time surviving in this new economic environment.

The economic carnage that we are witnessing is truly unprecedented, and some parts of the country are being hit harder than others.  I have some good friends in Hawaii, and needless to say this pandemic has caused tourism to Hawaii to absolutely implode.

As the tourist industry has collapsed, the unemployment rate in the state has gone from 3 percent to 34 percent

Unemployment in Hawaii has skyrocketed from three percent to 34 percent as tourism vanishes from the island – and it could get worse as lockdown measures to protect against coronavirus continue.

Since March the number of people flying into Hawaii has fallen dramatically from 30,000-a-day to just 756.

Eventually some of those jobs may start coming back as the pandemic fades.

But then again, they might not.

And just about everyone agrees that the U.S. economy is going to continue to bleed jobs.

In fact, at this point even U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is admitting that the numbers “are probably going to get worse”

The staggering U.S. unemployment rate reported by the government on Friday amid coronavirus lockdowns may get even worse, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.

“The reported numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better,” Mnuchin told the Fox News Sunday program.

The good news is that millions of workers that have been temporarily laid off should start going back to work in the months ahead as the lockdowns are ended.

But the bad news is that there are millions of newly unemployed workers that have lost their jobs permanently and won’t be able to get new ones.

As a result, the ranks of the poor will greatly surge, and many more people will end up in the streets.

Already, it is being reported that the number of homeless tents in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District has grown by 300 percent…

The streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District have experienced a 300 percent increase in the number of homeless tents since the coronavirus outbreak began, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the community and a law school.

Residents, businesses and the University of California Hastings College of Law are suing to demand the city clean up drug needles and human waste which have littered the streets.

I have written about homelessness a lot over the years, and before this pandemic started there were more than half a million Americans that were homeless.

As this new economic depression drags on, that number is likely to multiply.

The economic crisis that I have been warning about is now here, and the American people are going to be looking to our politicians to “fix things”.

But as Egon von Greyerz has noted, there isn’t going to be any solution to this crisis…

This is what is so sad with the current economic crisis – there is no solution. Nobody should believe that it is the Coronavirus that has caused this catastrophe for the world. CV was the catalyst but the underlying problems have been there for a long time. The Great Financial Crisis in 2006-9 was temporarily patched up with trillions of dollars of money printing but it was never solved. The Great Financial Crisis was only a rehearsal and now the world is facing the inevitable collapse of the financial system.

As usual, he is right on target.

All of the economic dominoes are starting to tumble, and fear of this virus is going to be with us for a very long time to come.

Those that are still hoping for a “V-shaped recovery”, a “U-shaped recovery” or any sort of a major recovery at all are going to be deeply disappointed.

The beginning of the end has arrived for the U.S. economy, and we are all going to be absolutely horrified by the things that take place in the months ahead.

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.

It Is Much Worse Than You Are Being Told

For a long time I warned that our economic bubble would burst and that we would plunge into a nightmarish economic collapse.  Now it has happened, and it turns out that fear of COVID-19 was the “black swan event” that triggered the collapse.  The ironic thing is that COVID-19 is not even close to the worst thing that is going to happen to us.  But it was more than enough to topple our incredibly fragile economic system, and now tens of millions of Americans are deeply suffering.  On Friday, the April jobs report was released, and it was the worst jobs report in U.S. history by a very, very wide margin.  According to the official numbers, 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs during the month, and the unemployment rate shot up to 14.7 percent.  During the last recession, the unemployment rate peaked at about 10 percent, and we have already left that number in the dust.  The figures that we are seeing now are truly, truly horrifying, and what is even more frightening is that they aren’t even that accurate.

But don’t take my word for it.

On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department publicly admitted that the true unemployment rate in April was closer to 20 percent

Millions of U.S. residents were counted as employed in April despite having no job, suggesting April’s true unemployment rate was closer to 20%, much higher than the official 14.7% reported, the Labor Department said Friday.

The jobless rate should have included people on temporary unpaid leave, furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the government said.

I applaud the Labor Department for trying to be honest.  In the report, they openly admitted that an “additional 7.5 million workers” should have been classified as unemployed

But responses to the survey by which the data was collected show 11.5 million people were categorized as employed but absent from work because of vacation, parental leave or other reasons, but including 8.1 million absent for “unspecified” reasons, a group that usually numbers about 620,000.

“One assumption might be that these additional 7.5 million workers …should have been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff,” a note attached to the government’s jobs report Friday said.

If those workers had been correctly classified, the official unemployment rate would have been about 19.5 percent, and that would have put us solidly in Great Depression territory.

But others have looked at the numbers and calculated that the true rate of unemployment should be even higher than that.

For example, Standard Chartered has calculated that the true rate of unemployment could be as high as 27.5 percent

While it is true that what the BLS reported that the April unemployment rate (UR) was less than expected (14.7% versus consensus of 16.0%) and the drop in payroll employment of 20.5 million was also less than the 22.0 million expected, Standard Chartered bank has calculated that adjustments to the headline unemployment rate push the effective number of unemployed to 42 million and the effective UR rate to 25.5%, higher even than the U-6 underemployment rate of 22.8%. Worse, if one treats underemployed in line with the U-6 methodology, the true April unemployment number would rise to an mindblowing 27.5%.

So how did Standard Chartered arrive at those numbers?  The following is how Zero Hedge explained it…

How does one get these numbers? As the bank’s chief FX strategist Steve Englander explains, start with the 23.1 million unemployed as published by BLS. To this add 8.1mn people who have dropped out of the labor force since February (previously the labor force had been growing steadily, so these are likely unemployed).

Add back 7.5MM workers classified as ‘employed but not at work for other reasons’ – BLS states that these workers are likely misclassified as employed, when they are in fact unemployed. Involuntary part-time work for economic reasons has gone up by 6.6MM and we treat these as half-unemployed (i.e., a contribution of 3.3MM).

This totals almost 42 Million effectively unemployed.

And Standard Chartered is not the only one that has come up with such a high figure.

In fact, John Williams of shadowstats.com says that if honest numbers were being used that the U.S. unemployment rate would now be an eye-popping 35.4 percent.

Wow.

Of course everyone admits that things are really, really bad and that the numbers for next month are likely to be even worse.

If you can believe it, even White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett is admitting that the official unemployment rate is likely to surge above 20 percent in “May or June”

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett believes the unemployment rate could rise above 20% and the worst job losses would come in “May or June” because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

When asked Sunday what the “bottom” of the country’s unemployment pain would be, Hassett, who advises the Trump administration on economic policy and is the former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “to get unemployment rates like the ones that we’re about to see … which I think will climb up toward 20% by next month, you have to really go back to the Great Depression to see that.”

And even once this pandemic fades, many of those jobs won’t be coming back.

Initially, many employers had anticipated that they would be bringing all of their employees back following a short, severe crisis.  But at this point reality is beginning to set in for many of them.

For example, a restaurant owner in Kentucky named Britney Ruby Miller has had to lower her expectations as this pandemic has dragged on…

In late March, Britney Ruby Miller, co-owner of a small chain of steakhouse restaurants, confidently proclaimed that once the viral outbreak had subsided, her company planned to recall all its laid-off workers.

Now? Miller would be thrilled to restore, by year’s end, three-quarters of the roughly 600 workers her company had to let go.

Yes, the state of Kentucky is starting to “reopen for business”, but for now her restaurants will “be limited to 33% of capacity” and there will be all sorts of other new expenses that Miller will be forced to deal with…

Yet business won’t be returning to what it was before. In Kentucky, the restaurants will be limited to 33% of capacity. They are putting six feet between tables in all their restaurants, thereby limiting seating. Miller estimates that the company’s revenue will plunge by half to three-quarters this year.

And expenses are rising because the company must buy face masks and other equipment for the workers it does recall and restock its food, drink, and equipment supplies.

There are very, very few restaurants that can be profitable under such circumstances.

Unless the state of Kentucky lifts those ridiculous restrictions, Miller may soon lose all of her restaurants and all of her employees may soon be permanently out of jobs.

Of course more layoff announcements just keep rolling in from all over America with each passing day.  The following examples come from the Wall Street Journal

This past week, General Electric Co., Uber Technologies Inc. UBER 6.01% and Airbnb Inc. said they would lay off thousands of workers. MGM Resorts International MGM 4.42% warned that some of the 63,000 employees it has furloughed may be let go permanently starting in August. Aerospace supplier Raytheon Technologies Corp., RTX 2.91%  job-listings site Glassdoor and United Airlines Holdings Inc. UAL 11.74% also said in the past week that they had reduced jobs or planned to do so.

This is what an economic depression looks like, and it is going to be so incredibly painful.

And it is critical to understand that what we have experienced so far is just a warm-up act for the next chapters.

If you remember how bitter the last recession was, that should motivate you to take action to prepare for what is ahead, because this economic downturn is already even worse.

Yes, the months in front of us will be exceptionally challenging, but you can get through this.  Things may look really bleak, but for now you just need to keep hanging in there.

There will be life on the other side, but your future may end up looking far different than you originally anticipated.

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.

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