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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just think about that.

22 million jobs wiped out in one month.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Facebook has canceled all large events until June 2021.

-Chinese GDP just experienced the largest drop ever recorded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is here.

It is now.

And it is going to get a lot worse.

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

Will You Resume Normal Daily Activities Once The Coronavirus Restrictions Are Finally Lifted?

COVID-19 has turned all of our lives upside down, and most people are quite eager for a return to normalcy.  But as you will see below, fear of the coronavirus is going to prevent the vast majority of Americans from immediately resuming all of their normal daily activities once the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.  Every day there are more stories in the news about prominent individuals that have died from the virus, and the chilling testimonies of those that have wrestled with the virus and survived are extremely sobering.  Yes, most people that catch this virus will ultimately recover, but the fact that tens of thousands of Americans are dying is seriously scaring a lot of people.  And even though the “shelter-in-place” orders appear to be slowing the spread of the virus to a certain extent, the official U.S. death toll has actually doubled over the past week

U.S. deaths from the novel coronavirus topped 25,000 on Tuesday, doubling in one week, according to a Reuters tally, as officials debated how to reopen the economy without reigniting the outbreak.

The United States, with the world’s third-largest population, has recorded more fatalities from COVID-19 than any other country. There were a total of nearly 597,000 U.S. cases – three times more than any other country – with nearly 2 million reported cases globally.

And according to Worldometers.info, more than 2,200 Americans have died over the last 24 hours, and that would make this the deadliest day of this pandemic so far.

So it is easy to understand why so many people out there are deeply afraid of this virus.  Most of us don’t want to die, and COVID-19 can kill you.

In recent days, there has been a whole lot of talk about “reopening America”, and many are assuming that life will start to look somewhat normal once that happens.

But Gallup just conducted a survey in which they asked people if they would be “resuming their normal daily activities” once the restrictions are lifted, and these were the results

Americans remain hesitant about resuming their normal daily activities amid the COVID-19 outbreak according to a Gallup question first asked in late March and repeated in early April.

When asked how quickly they will return to their normal activities once the government lifts restrictions and businesses and schools start to reopen, the vast majority of Americans say they would wait and see what happens with the spread of the virus (71%) and another 10% would wait indefinitely. Just 20% say they would return to their normal activities immediately.

In other words, about 80 percent of the country is going to take a hesitant approach, and that has huge implications for our economy moving forward.

Of course all of the coronavirus restrictions are not going to be lifted any time soon anyway, and this is something that I discussed yesterday.

Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom set forth six specific conditions which must be met before the restrictions will be lifted in his state…

  1. The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed.
  2. The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19.
  3. The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges.
  4. The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand.
  5. The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing.
  6. The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

Needless to say, California may continue to be locked down for an extended period of time to come.

But the longer that these shutdowns persist, the more impatient many Americans are going to become.

Already, we are starting to see protests pop up all over the nation.  For example, just check out what is happening in Michigan

At least 15,000 cars and trucks are expected to descend on Michigan’s state capital on Wednesday to protest what they’re calling Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s tyrannical new guidelines to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.

The so-called “drive-by” demonstration – in order to maintain social distancing — aims to bring traffic to a gridlock in Lansing and protest the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order by Whitmer, a Democrat, mandating what businesses could stay home, what some businesses could sell and ordering people in her state against any gatherings – no matter the size or family ties.

I am seeing a lot of anger out there right now.  Business owners, workers and entrepreneurs are not being allowed to make a living and provide for their families, and I can certainly understand their frustration.

And the longer that things are shut down, the worse this economic downturn is going to become.  At this point, the IMF is projecting the worst performance for the global economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s

The global economy will this year likely suffer the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, as governments worldwide grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Washington-based organization now expects the global economy to contract by 3% in 2020. By contrast, in January it had forecast a global GDP (gross domestic product) expansion of 3.3% for this year.

Actually, I believe that the IMF’s projection is way too optimistic.

If global GDP only declines by 3 percent in 2020, that should be considered a rip-roaring success.

Now that the U.S. has become the epicenter for this pandemic, our nation is being hit particularly hard economically, and we are being warned that more than 2,000 cities “are anticipating major budget shortfalls this year”

More than 2,100 U.S. cities are anticipating major budget shortfalls this year and many are planning to slash programs and cut staff in response, according to a new survey of local officials released Tuesday, illustrating the widespread financial havoc threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The bleak outlook — shared by local governments representing roughly 93 million people nationwide — led some top mayors and other leaders to call for greater federal aid to protect cities now forced to choose between balancing their cash-strapped ledgers and sustaining the public services that residents need most.

Of course this is just only the beginning of the end.  All of the economic and financial bubbles are bursting, and this is going to cause severe distress on the national, state, local and community levels.

And as long as COVID-19 is still spreading somewhere, fear of the coronavirus is going to cause a lot of people to greatly alter their normal economic patterns.

So the truth is that we have a very long and very painful road ahead of us, and the months to come are going to make the last recession look like a Sunday picnic.

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.

Now They Are Telling Us That Life In America Will Definitely Not Be Returning To Normal “For The Foreseeable Future”

If you thought that this pandemic would pass quickly and that life in America would soon return to “normal”, I am afraid that you are in for quite a shock.  Some of the restrictions currently in place will eventually be lifted, and efforts will be made to get people back to work, but life is still going to be radically different from what we had become accustomed to before COVID-19 started sweeping across the globe.  Authorities are telling us that there may be “rolling shutdowns” for up to 18 months, that social distancing guidelines will be necessary for a long time to come, and that this crisis will not ultimately be resolved until they can inject everyone with a vaccine.  If all of this greatly alarms you, please be assured that you are not alone.

In recent days there has been a tremendous amount of debate about when to “reopen the U.S. economy”, and organizations all along the political spectrum have drafted plans for how to do that.

Ezra Klein actually read quite a few of those plans, and he discovered that none of them would return our lives to normal “for the foreseeable future”

Over the past few days, I’ve been reading the major plans for what comes after social distancing. You can read them, too. There’s one from the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, the left-leaning Center for American Progress, Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer.

I thought, perhaps naively, that reading them would be a comfort — at least then I’d be able to imagine the path back to normal. But it wasn’t. In different ways, all these plans say the same thing: Even if you can imagine the herculean political, social, and economic changes necessary to manage our way through this crisis effectively, there is no normal for the foreseeable future. Until there’s a vaccine, the United States either needs economically ruinous levels of social distancing, a digital surveillance state of shocking size and scope, or a mass testing apparatus of even more shocking size and intrusiveness.

Over and over again, a “vaccine” is being touted as the golden ticket that will get us out of this mess.

The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Neel Kashkari, is another prominent voice that is warning that there won’t be a return to normalcy until a vaccine comes along.  And until that time comes, he believes that we are potentially facing “an 18-month strategy of rolling shutdowns”

Kashkari, while acknowledging the downside of what a prolonged shutdown could mean for the economy, said the U.S., “barring some health-care miracle,” is looking at an 18-month strategy of rolling shutdowns based on what has happened in other countries.

“We could have these waves of flare-ups, controls, flare-ups and controls, until we actually get a therapy or a vaccine,” he said. “We need to find ways of getting the people who are healthy, who are at lower risk, back to work and then providing the assistance to those who are most at risk, who are going to need to be quarantined or isolated for the foreseeable future.”

In other words, Kashkari believes that all or part of the nation will be shut down over and over again whenever the number of coronavirus cases starts to spike too high.

Of course the WHO is eagerly looking forward to global vaccination as well, and the head of the WHO just told the media that he believes that this virus is ten times deadlier than the swine flu pandemic of 2009…

Coronavirus is ten times deadlier than the 2009 swine flu pandemic and a vaccine will be needed to halt it, the World Health Organisation has said.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from Geneva the organisation was constantly learning about the bug sweeping the globe.

Over and over again, officials are telling us that we are facing an 18 month timeframe until a vaccine will be ready.  Just check out what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his press conference earlier today…

On Monday, governor Cuomo was joined on a conference call by the other Northeast governors. The recovery must be careful, incremental and guided by experts rather than politics, Cuomo said, and the pandemic won’t be truly “over” until a vaccine is available, which could take as long as 18 months. Ideally, a plan would also involve widespread testing, he said, to allow those without the virus – and those who have recovered and may now be resistant to it – to return to work first.

By the time 18 months goes by, most of the general population will be so desperate to feel safe from this virus that they will race out to get the vaccine as fast as they possibly can.

And until then, we can expect economic conditions to steadily deteriorate.

Yes, hopefully most businesses in the country will be allowed to reopen in a matter of weeks, but that doesn’t mean that the customers will come back.

Prior to this pandemic, we were already witnessing the worst “retail apocalypse” in U.S. history, and now one research firm is warning that an all-time record 15,000 stores could be permanently shuttered in 2020

Coresight Research predicts that 15,000 U.S. stores will permanently close this year, setting a new record and nearly doubling its earlier forecast of 8,000 store closings.

‘Retail has hung a closed sign on the door literally and metaphorically,’ Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said.

Pretty soon, our communities are going to be absolutely littered with abandoned buildings, and “space available” signs will start popping up everywhere.

Meanwhile, millions upon millions of U.S. consumers will be falling on very hard times.  We are in the midst of the greatest spike in unemployment in all of American history, and the number of people taking advantage of the federal government’s mortgage forbearance program has gone through the roof

With unemployment claims hitting nearly 17 million over the last three weeks, the number of Americans applying for the government’s mortgage forbearance program under the COVID-19 relief plan spiked 73% for the week ending April 5 vs. the previous week – jumping from 2.73% to 3.74%, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

For context, the total number of loans in forbearance was just 0.25% for the week of March 2 – an increase of 1,496% in just six weeks, with the number of borrowers in forbearance now topping 2 million according to CNBC.

Realizing that we are on the verge of another massive wave of mortgage defaults, mortgage lenders all over the nation are rapidly tightening standards.  JPMorgan is just one example

Over the weekend our skepticism was confirmed when Reuters reported that JPMorgan, the country’s largest lender by assets and which will kick off earnings season tomorrow, will raise borrowing standards this week for most new home loans as the bank “moves to mitigate lending risk stemming from the novel coronavirus disruption.”

Starting Tuesday, customers applying for a new mortgage will need a credit score of at least 700, and will be required to make a down payment equal to 20% of the home’s value (something which we thought was the norm after the last financial crisis, but apparently lending conditions had eased quite a bit in the past decade).

For a very long time I have been warning that the flow of credit would get really tight when the next crisis hit.

Now we are here, and Americans are going to have a much harder time getting loans to buy homes, vehicles or anything else.

Everything that I have been warning about in my books is beginning to transpire, and a tremendous amount of pain is ahead.

My hope is that all of the pain that is ahead will cause a mass awakening and America will turn in a more positive direction.

But to most people, the immediate future looks really bleak right now, and that is not going to change any time soon.

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.

Deep Economic Suffering Has Erupted All Over America, But Guess Who The Federal Reserve Is Helping?

As millions upon millions of Americans lose their jobs in the greatest wave of unemployment in U.S. history, the Federal Reserve has decided that now is the time to spend trillions of newly created dollars in a desperate attempt to protect financial asset values.  In other words, as much of the country suddenly plunges into poverty, the Federal Reserve is working exceedingly hard to protect the wealth of the elite.  Approximately fifty percent of all stock market wealth is owned by the wealthiest one percent of all Americans, and the amount of stock market wealth owned by the poorest 50 percent of all Americans is so small that it really doesn’t matter.  And those running the Fed certainly understand that their reckless policies will create very painful inflation that will hit average American families extremely hard, but they don’t seem to care.  At this point, they figure that asset values must be protected at all costs, and that is going to continue to expand the absolutely massive gap between the rich and the poor in this country.

Over the past 3 weeks, more than 16 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits.

Prior to this year, the highest number that we had ever seen in any 3 week span in all of American history was about 2 million.

It is a collapse of unprecedented magnitude, and things have already gotten so bad that even “the Happiest Place on Earth” is conducting mass layoffs

Walt Disney World Resort will furlough 43,000 union workers while its theme parks remain closed as authorities restrict large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Service Trades Council Union.

Because most U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck, many of the newly unemployed have fallen on hard times very rapidly.  Food banks all over the nation are seeing an alarming surge in demand, and in many cities people are literally lining up before the sun rises in order to ensure that they will get some food

In many cities, lines outside food pantries have become glaring symbols of financial precarity, showing how quickly the pandemic has devastated working people’s finances.

In San Antonio, 10,000 families began arriving before dawn on Thursday at a now-shuttered swap meet hall to receive boxes of food. Normally, 200 to 400 families might show up during a normal food distribution.

For many other similar examples, please see my previous article entitled “America’s ‘Food Lines’ Are Being Measured In Miles As Desperation Sets In All Over The Country”.  Yes, things got bad during the last recession, but they were never as bad as we are witnessing now.  In fact, the CEO of Feeding America says that demand is already at the highest level that she has ever seen

‘I’ve never witnessed a system being more strained,’ Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said.

‘For the first time probably in our history, we’ve had to turn some people away,’ she said, not that ‘We don’t want to do that, ever.’

Unfortunately, this economic collapse is still in the very early chapters.  If you can believe it, JPMorgan is actually projecting that U.S. GDP “will fall by 40 percent” on an annualized basis during the second quarter

According to CNBC, JPMorgan economists are forecasting that the GDP will fall by 40 percent through the spring months. They also predict unemployment will reach 20 percent in April, with 25 million jobs lost overall.

Such a drop would be, by far, the worst in U.S. history. For context, according to Credit Suisse (via Business Insider), the worst quarterly drop of the 2008 crash was 8.4 percent.

And even once the “shelter-in-place” orders are finally lifted, that will not mean that things will go back to normal.  As Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Shiller has noted, fear of the coronavirus is going to cause many Americans to avoid restaurants, sporting events and other businesses where public interaction is required for a long time to come…

“The shortage of supplies is generating horrible news stories that put us all on edge,” said Shiller. “It may mean people won’t go to restaurants or sporting events in good numbers for years. You know the disease might not well be eradicated for several years from now.”

So the truth is that we are heading into a very deep economic depression, and the economic suffering in this country is going to be off the charts.

As events have begun to spiral out of control, the Federal Reserve has sprung into action on a scale unlike anything that we have ever seen before, and this has pushed the Fed’s balance sheet above 6 trillion dollars

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet increased to a record $6.13 trillion this week as the central bank used its nearly unlimited buying power to soak up assets and keep markets functioning smoothly, even as efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic cut deeply into employment and economic output.

In the four weeks since the Fed slashed interest rates to zero, restarted bond purchases and rolled out an unprecedented range of programs to limit the economic damage from the outbreak, the central bank’s balance sheet has jumped by about $1.7 trillion.

Let me try to put those numbers in perspective.

During QE3, the Fed’s balance sheet increased by 1.7 trillion dollars over the course of an entire year, and now the Fed has achieved that same feat in just four weeks.

What the Fed is doing is completely and utterly insane, but to a certain extent it is working.

Even though we are in the midst of the most dramatic unemployment spike in American history, last week was the best week for the stock market in decades thanks to the Fed.

Isn’t that nuts?

I know that this also sounds incredibly absurd, but last week’s surge actually pushed P/E values back near record highs.

In other words, stock prices are incredibly overvalued at this moment.

And if everything that we have already witnessed was not enough, on Thursday the Fed announced that it will now be spending trillions of dollars to voraciously buy up bonds of all types

The Federal Reserve is not leaving any corner of the U.S. bond market behind in this crisis.

There’s no other way to interpret the central bank’s sweeping measures announced Thursday, which together provide as much as $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy. It will wade into the $3.9 trillion U.S. municipal-bond market to an unprecedented degree, can now purchase “fallen angel” bonds from companies that have recently lost their investment-grade ratings, and has expanded its Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility to include top-rated commercial mortgage-backed securities and collateralized loan obligations.

In other words, moving forward we will no longer have a “bond market”.  What we will have is a Fed-manipulated sham in which the Fed picks winners and losers.

Of course many believe that it is only a matter of time before the Fed starts buying stocks as well.

Those that love free markets should be absolutely disgusted by all of this, because the Fed is coming up with lots of new ways to give handouts to the very wealthy.

Meanwhile, the poor are rapidly getting poorer.

But don’t worry too much, because you will soon receive your $1,200 socialist handout from the federal government.

Try not to spend it all in one place.

Needless to say, $1,200 won’t last very long in the hands of most Americans, and one recent survey found that “63% of respondents said they will need another check within the next three months”.

Like I warned from the very beginning, these sorts of direct payments set a very dangerous precedent, and if a Democrat wins the presidency in November they may become permanent.

That may sound really good to you, but what are you going to do when it gets to the point where you have to spend 500 dollars a week just to feed your family?

At that point many of you will also be lining up at the crack of dawn to receive whatever the food banks have available to give you

Outside of Pittsburgh, Danielle Small pulled up 90 minutes early to a food distribution, but found two long rows of cars already ahead of her. Money was getting tight after her boyfriend had to take a pay cut, and she decided to make her first trip to a food bank this week.

She said the line moved efficiently as cars pulled ahead in clusters of 10. After Ms. Small, 32, received a box filled with chicken fajita strips, preserved peaches, fruit, nuts and juice, she mouthed, “Thank you,” to the volunteers and drove away.

Millions of Americans driving nice vehicles and wearing nice clothes are suddenly being forced to spend hours waiting in food lines because fear of the coronavirus has crashed our economy.

A day of reckoning has finally arrived, and a lot more pain is on the way.

Sadly, many Americans will just go along with whatever “solutions” are proposed as long as it looks like they may provide short-term relief.  What remains of our free markets is being obliterated, Congress is openly embracing socialism, and our rights are being stripped away at a staggering rate, but most people don’t seem concerned by any of this.

Most people just want the pain to end and for life to go back to normal, but that is simply not going to happen.

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.

A Massive Surge Of Unemployment Like America Has Never Seen Before

The pace at which Americans are losing their jobs is absolutely breathtaking.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the largest number of new claims for unemployment benefits ever recorded in a single week prior to this year was 695,000 during the week that ended October 2nd, 1982.  So that means that what we are now witnessing is completely unprecedented.  About half the country is currently under some sort of a “shelter-in-place” order, and there has never been a nationwide shutdown of businesses anything like what we are currently experiencing.  Many are hoping that America will be able to “get back to normal” soon, but that all depends on the progression of this pandemic.  The number of newly confirmed cases in the U.S. spiked by more than 11,000 on Wednesday, and the number of new deaths continues to escalate at a very alarming rate.  Until those numbers start to improve, life is definitely not going to “get back to normal”.

In recent days, so many newly unemployed Americans have been trying to file for unemployment benefits that it has been crashing websites all over the country.  For example, a newly unemployed worker in Michigan named Aaron Garza never was able to file for benefits through Michigan’s unemployment website although he kept on trying throughout Monday and Tuesday

When Aaron Garza was dismissed this week from his job as a parts specialist at a Toyota dealership in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he joined a tidal wave of unemployed people swamping systems to help them and straining state finances to the breaking point.

On Monday, Garza went to Michigan’s unemployment website and tried logging on to apply for benefits electronically. After 30 minutes, he was able to sign on, but by the time a verification code was sent to his phone 25 minutes later, he had already given up. As of Tuesday afternoon, he still hadn’t been able to get through.

Last week, 108,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits in the state of Michigan.

That is 20 times more than normal.

Ouch.

In Louisiana, things are even worse.  If you can believe it, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits is more than 40 times higher than usual

In Louisiana alone, 71,000 people filed new unemployment applications last week, compared to the usual 1,400 or 1,500 people per week, said state labor secretary Ava Dejoie.

Louisiana has one of the highest per capita counts of coronavirus cases in the U.S. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has ordered nonessential businesses to close, limited restaurants to takeout and delivery, banned gatherings over 10 people and directed residents to remain at home.

And in California, Governor Gavin Newsom says that a million residents of his state have filed for benefits “just since March 13”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that the state has seen 1 million unemployment claims in less than two weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has led to businesses being shut down across the state.

“We just passed the 1 million mark, in terms of the number of claims, just since March 13,” Newsom said.

On Thursday, we will get the latest weekly total for the nation as a whole.

At this point nobody is quite sure what to expect, but most forecasts are ranging between one million and four million

Economists have issued widely varying estimates of Thursday’s jobless claims total based on anecdotal reports by about 40 states to news outlets for the first few days of last week. Goldman Sachs estimated the national count will be about 2.25 million but said it could be as low as slightly more than 1 million. Morgan Stanley reckons about 3.4 million. Oxford Economics says about 4 million.

If we even hit the lowest edge of that range, it will absolutely shatter the old record that was set back in 1982.

Of course similar things are happening all over the world.  Approximately one-third of the entire population of the globe is currently under some sort of a lockdown order, and that means that hundreds of millions of workers are sitting at home not working.

Here in the United States, so many people are already absolutely sick and tired of being idle at home, but the truth is that it looks like this pandemic is just getting started.

In fact, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio believes that more than half of the residents of his city will eventually get the virus

More than half of New York City’s population can expect to be infected by the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Most will suffer only a “mild experience,” but many will become very sick, and “we are going to lose some people,” he said. April will be tough and May tougher before the virus crisis eases, he said. The city has seen 192 deaths so far, and there are more than 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

“The world we knew is gone,” de Blasio said in a social media post. “And it’s not coming back, not for the next few months. That’s the blunt truth.”

If his projection is even close to accurate, that means that we are in for a very, very long battle with COVID-19.

A lot of people out there are still trying to downplay this pandemic, and that is a huge mistake.  The dead bodies are starting to pile up just like we saw in China, Iran and Italy, and already “New York City’s morgues are nearing capacity”

The Department of Homeland Security has been briefed that New York City’s morgues are nearing capacity, according to a department official and a second person familiar with the situation.

Officials were told that morgues in the city are expected to reach capacity next week, per the briefing. A third person familiar with the situation in New York said some of the city’s hospital morgues hit capacity in the past seven days. And a FEMA spokesperson told POLITICO that New York has asked for emergency mortuary assistance. Hawaii and North Carolina have asked for mortuary help as well, and the disaster response agency is currently reviewing the requests, according to the spokesperson.

You may have noticed that I have not said too much about what Congress is doing, and that is because any “stimulus package” is really not going to make that much of a difference.

Congress is not going to be able to make this pandemic go away, and they aren’t going to be able to convince people that are deathly afraid to leave their own homes to go out and spend money normally.

But thanks to Congress there will be a lot more money chasing a rapidly dwindling pool of goods and services in the days ahead, and that will eventually cause very painful inflation.

And if they are going to start handing out giant checks to everyone, they better keep on doing it all throughout this crisis.  Because as Gerald Celente has warned, what we are heading for is “the Greatest Depression”

“People are going to go bankrupt. You are going to see suicide rates increase. You are going to see crime escalate and people OD’ing on drugs because of depression…

Our leaders are totally closing down the economy. Again, this has never been done before. It’s not only Wall Street going down, Main Street went down simultaneously. That is unprecedented. Usually, the markets go down and then the ripple effects start hitting Main Street. This time–boom, they are both down…

It’s going to be worse than the Great Depression. It’s going to be the Greatest Depression.”

Sadly, one element of Celente’s warning is already coming to pass.  It is being reported that calls to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline have risen 300 percent

Isolation and anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic are taking a toll, with calls to a National Suicide Prevention Hotline call center rising 300 percent, KVLY reports.

Other suicide prevention services across the United States also have seen spikes in calls since the COVID-19 virus threw everyday life askew for millions.​​​​​

In this hour, people are going to need hope.

But trying to convince them that this virus does not exist is not giving them hope.

And those that are boldly proclaiming that this virus will magically go away very quickly are only giving people false hope.  When they later realize that they were lied to, that false hope will give way to even deeper depression and despair.

This virus is very real, and we are going to be battling this pandemic for an extended period of time.  But God knew all about this in advance, He is in control, and He will accomplish His purposes.

And God specifically has a plan for you and your family, but you have got to be willing to embrace it.  Your future is likely to look far different than you originally imagined, but with God’s help it can also be far greater than you originally imagined as well.

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.

Here Are The Very Alarming Things That Scientists Have Just Discovered About This Coronavirus…

The biggest public health crisis of our time just continues to get worse.  The global death toll is rapidly approaching 20,000, and approximately a third of the world is currently under some sort of a lockdown order.  Needless to say, this is going to be absolutely devastating for the entire global economy.  Here in the United States, the spread of this virus continues to track along a trajectory that is very similar to what we witnessed in Italy.  If you doubt this, just check out this chart.  At this hour, the official death toll in the United States is up to 782, and only 378 victims have officially “recovered”.  But of course the vast majority of the 54,867 confirmed cases will not come to a final resolution for quite some time.  Sadly, the numbers that I just shared with you are likely to be much higher by the time most of you actually read this article.  This is a full-blown national emergency, and a lot of people out there are still not taking this crisis very seriously.

This is no ordinary virus.  It moves from person to person with incredible ease, and it is rapidly changing.  In fact, it has just been announced that scientists in Iceland “have found 40 mutations of the coronavirus”

Scientists in Iceland claim they have found 40 mutations of the coronavirus, which has left the world gripped in fear.

The mutations were discovered by analysing swabs of COVID-19 patients in Iceland, where almost 600 cases have been reported so far.

Using genetic sequencing, the researchers identified how many mutations the virus had accumulated.

Those sentences should send a chill up your spine, and this discovery may help to explain why we are seeing far higher death rates in the western world than we have in Asia so far.

Meanwhile, a professor in the United Kingdom is warning that a single person that has the virus can potentially infect “up to 59,000 others”

An intensive care specialist has described how one person with coronavirus could infect up to 59,000 others – as the virus is more than twice as infectious as flu.

Dr Hugh Montgomery, a professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, explained how the virus could be passed from one person to thousands as he called on Britons to heed advice on social distancing.

Previously, we have been told that someone can spread COVID-19 for many days before they even start exhibiting any symptoms.

That makes this the perfect “stealth virus” to spark a horrifying global pandemic.

And as I have discussed in previous articles, you don’t even have to encounter someone with the virus in order to become infected.

In fact, scientists have now discovered that this virus can linger on surfaces “for up to 17 days”

Researchers have made the startling discovering that a form of the coronavirus can linger around for more than two weeks.

Traces of new coronavirus were found on the Diamond Princess cruise ship on surfaces in cabins where people who were infected with the virus had stayed, for up to 17 days after they had left, according to a study released Monday along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

I know that this information is hard to take.

But it is absolutely critical that we understand what we are dealing with.

Just like elsewhere, our healthcare system is about to be completely overwhelmed.  On his Twitter account, a New York City emergency room doctor named Craig Spencer has described what his shifts are already like each day

You’re notified of another really sick patient coming in. You rush over. They’re also extremely sick, vomiting. They need to be put on life support as well. You bring them back. Two patients, in rooms right next to each other, both getting a breathing tube. It’s not even 10am yet

For the rest of your shift, nearly every hour, you get paged:

Stat notification: Very sick patient, short of breath, fever. Oxygen 88%.

Stat notification: Low blood pressure, short of breath, low oxygen.

Stat notification: Low oxygen, can’t breath. Fever.

All day…

Sadly, this is what life is going to be like for emergency room doctors all across America for as long as this pandemic lasts.

And it is inevitable that a lot of those doctors will end up catching the virus themselves.  In fact, it is already happening

Healthcare workers across the United States are now testing positive for the coronavirus even as they man the front lines against the rapidly spreading pandemic.

The medical professionals who have tested positive for COVID-19 include two ER physicians at a Chicago suburban hospital, two doctors associated with Washington University, a doctor in Austin, Texas, as well as a doctor at a children’s hospital in Wisconsin.

I know that a lot of you out there are quite eager for life to return to “normal”, but that isn’t going to happen.

So far, the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths in the United States are both ahead of even the most pessimistic early projections.

We should definitely be hopeful that the “social distancing” measures that have been put in place will help to “flatten the curve”, but even if that happens we still have a very long battle ahead of us.

In some countries that had supposedly “contained” the virus, we are already starting to see a stunning resurgence in cases as people bring the virus back in from other areas.

Expert after expert has assured us that most of the U.S. population will eventually catch COVID-19, and if it hits you really hard it will be a nightmarish ordeal that you will never forget.

Like so many others, I wish that this pandemic had not happened.

But it is here, and we have to deal with it.

According to a survey that was just conducted, 19 percent of Americans think that they might already have the virus.  If you are one of those people, please get the medical help that you need, and please reach out to those around you for prayer.

So many people out there have been getting really angry, but this is a time when we need to work together and all pull in the same direction.  This is truly a great challenge for this generation, and with God’s help we can get through it.

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

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