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

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

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

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

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

But of course they weren’t anything like this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly, the bankruptcy announcements just keep on coming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forbes’ Store Closure List In 2020

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

Destination Maternity: 90 stores (bankruptcy)

GNC: 1,200 stores (bankruptcy)

J. Crew: 54 stores (bankruptcy)

JCPenney JCP: 154 stores (bankruptcy)

K-Mart: 45 stores (bankruptcy)

Modell’s Sporting Goods: 153 stores (bankruptcy)

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

Papyrus: 254 stores (bankruptcy)

Pier 1 Imports PIR: 936 stores (bankruptcy)

Sears: 51 stores (bankruptcy)

Signet Jewelers SIG: 232 stores

Stage Stores: 738 stores (liquidating)

Tuesday Morning: 230 stores (bankruptcy)

***

AC Moore: 145 stores

Art Van Furniture: 190 stores

AT&T: 250 stores

Bath & Body Works: 50 stores

Bed Bath & Beyond: 44 stores

Bloomingdale’s: 1 store

Bose: 11 stores

Chico: 100 stores (estimated)

Children’s Place: 200 stores

Christopher Banks: 30-40 stores

CVS Pharmacy: 22 stores

Earth Fare: 50 stores

Express: 66 stories

Forever 21: 15 stores (estimated)

GameStop GME: 320 stores

Gap: 230 stores

Guess: 100 stores

Hallmark: 16 stores

Lord & Taylor: 30 or 40 stores

Lowe’s Canada: 34 stores

Lucky Market: 32 stores

Macy’s M: 125 stores (over 3 years)

Microsoft: 77 stores

New York & Co: 27 stores

Nordstrom: 16 stores

Office Depot: 90 stores

Olympia Sports: 76 stores

Party City: 21 stores

Starbucks SBUX: 400 stores (over 18 months)

Victoria’s Secret: 250 stores

Walgreen: 100 stores (estimated)

Walmart: 2 stores

Wilson Leather & G.H. Bass: 199 stores

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

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

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

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

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

The U.S. Economy Hasn’t Experienced Anything Like This Since The Great Depression Of The 1930s

The recession of 2008 and 2009 was bad, but it was nothing like this.  Even though this new economic downturn is only a few months old, we are already seeing numbers that we haven’t seen since the worst parts of the Great Depression of the 1930s.  More than 48 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits over the past 15 weeks, well over 100,000 businesses have permanently closed their doors, and civil unrest has turned quite a few of our major cities into war zones.  But not all areas of the country are being affected equally.  For example, there are rural areas that haven’t really seen a lot of COVID-19 cases where life seems to have changed very little from six months ago.  On the other hand, some urban areas that have been hit really hard by COVID-19 have been absolutely devastated economically.  For example, the New York Times is reporting that a million jobs have been lost in New York City, and the unemployment rate for NYC “is hovering near 20 percent”

The city is staggering toward reopening with some workers back at their desks or behind cash registers, and on Monday, it began a new phase, allowing personal-care services like nail salons and some outdoor recreation to resume. Even so, the city’s unemployment rate is hovering near 20 percent — a figure not seen since the Great Depression.

We are going to be using the phrase “since the Great Depression” a lot in the coming months.

Fear of COVID-19 is going to paralyze our economy for the foreseeable future, and all of this fear is hitting some companies more severely than others.  On Tuesday, Levi Strauss announced that sales were down a whopping 62 percent during the second quarter

The denim maker Levi Strauss & Co.’s sales fell 62% during its fiscal second quarter, the company announced Tuesday, as its online sales weren’t enough to make up for its stores being temporarily shut for roughly 10 weeks during the Covid-19 crisis.

If Levi Strauss expected this to be just a temporary setback, they would probably try to keep all of their employees on board.

But instead, they apparently believe that hard times are here to stay and they have just decided to eliminate “about 700 jobs”

Levi’s also announced it will be slashing about 15% of its global corporate workforce, impacting about 700 jobs, in a bid to cut costs during the coronavirus pandemic. It said the move should generate annualized savings for Levi’s of $100 million.

Of course a whole lot of other companies are laying off workers right now too.  Another 1.427 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, and that is an absolutely catastrophic number.  Prior to 2020, the worst week in all of U.S. history for new unemployment claims was in 1982 when 695,000 unemployed workers filed in a single week.  So what we are witnessing right now is nothing short of a “tsunami of job losses”, and even CNN is admitting that millions of the jobs that have been lost “are never coming back”…

The American economy’s unprecedented jobs rebound masks a difficult truth: For millions of people, the jobs they lost are never coming back.

“It’s clear that the pandemic is doing some fundamental damage to the job market,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “A lot of the jobs lost aren’t coming back any time soon. The idea that the economy is going to snap back to where it was before the pandemic is clearly not going to happen.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Since most Americans were living paycheck to paycheck before this pandemic erupted, millions of unemployed workers have found themselves in desperate need very suddenly.  I have written numerous articles about the massive lines that we have been witnessing at food banks around the nation, and we just witnessed another two mile long line at a food bank in Florida

More than 700 cars were seen waiting in a two-mile long food bank line in Florida as the US grapples with nearly half of Americans being unemployed amid a spike in new coronavirus cases that has sparked fears of more shut downs and lay-offs.

Sunrise Assistant Leisure Services Director Maria Little, who was put in charge of food distribution for the city when the coronavirus hit the US in March, said her group served about 720 cars in Miami on Wednesday.

This is not what a “recovery” looks like.

In fact, for certain sectors of the economy the numbers are rapidly getting a lot worse.  For instance, just check out what CNBC is reporting

Delinquencies in commercial mortgage-backed securities last month had their largest one-month surge since Fitch Ratings began tracking the metric nearly 16 years ago.

The delinquency rate hit 3.59% in June, an increase from 1.46% in May. New delinquencies totaled $10.8 billion in June, raising the total delinquent pool to $17.2 billion.

And Fitch Ratings is warning that these numbers are going to get far worse in the months ahead.

And this is just the beginning. Fitch analysts are projecting that the impact from the coronavirus pandemic will drive the delinquency rate to between 8.25% and 8.75% by the end of the third quarter of this year.

I have said this before, and I will say it again.

We are on the verge of the biggest commercial mortgage meltdown in the history of the United States.

Countless restaurants and retailers are getting way behind on their rent payments, and as a result many owners of commercial property are finding it increasingly difficult to make their mortgage payments.

The dominoes are starting to fall, and this is going to get really, really messy as we head into 2021 and beyond.

Of course the same thing could be said for the U.S. economy as a whole.

I know that I haven’t been posting quite as often the last couple of weeks, and that is because I have been finishing my new book.  It is not too far from being completed, and it is going to be the most important thing that I have written so far.

We are right on the precipice of the most chaotic chapter in all of American history, and a collapsing economy is just going to be one element of “the perfect storm” that we are facing.

So please use the summer months to get prepared for what is ahead, because even though things are bad right now, the truth is that we have only experienced the leading edge of “the perfect storm” so far.

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

Violent Crime Is Surging Dramatically In Major Cities All Over America

What we are witnessing all over the country right now is incredibly sad.  In the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd, it would have been wonderful to see the entire nation unite behind an effort to make our society less violent, more just and more peaceful.  But instead, we have seen a tremendous explosion of violence and lawlessness that doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon.  Violent crime rates are surging in major city after major city, and the 4th of July weekend was particularly bad.  At least 41 people were hit by gunfire in New York City during the holiday weekend, and this continues a trend that we have seen throughout the first half of 2020.  Just check out these numbers

According to figures released by the New York Police Department, for the first six months of this year, there were 176 murders, an increase of 23 percent on the 143 killed during the same period last year.

The number of shooting victims has gone up 51 percent to 616 this year. In June alone, there were 250 shootings compared to 97 in the same month last year. Month-on-month, burglaries are up 119 percent and car thefts up 48 percent.

I don’t know which one of those numbers is the worst, because they are all quite horrific.

A tremendous amount of money has been shifted away from the NYPD budget, and that certainly isn’t going to help matters.  For years, the hard work of the NYPD had helped to make New York safer than many of our other major cities, but now that is changing at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking.  In fact, one British news source is now referring to the city as “lawless New York”…

Two bullet-ridden bodies lay sprawled on bloodstained concrete steps. Alongside, relatives of the victims are wailing and collapse to the ground. In another part of the city, a gang of youths use spray paint to disable security cameras before robbing a corner store. Later, video footage captures police officers sitting helplessly in their patrol car as a baying crowd hurls glass bottles at them.

This is lawless New York – a city that was once America’s glittering crown jewel but which risks descending into mob rule.

Of course New York still has a long way to go if it wants to rival Chicago.  According to authorities, there are more than 100,000 gang members living in Chicago at this point, and the violence never seems to stop.

Sadly, the last couple of days have been particularly bad.  Over the 4th of July weekend, at least 67 people were hit by gunfire in the Windy City…

At least 67 people were shot, including 13 fatally, over the Independence Day weekend in Chicago, according to authorities.

Nine of the weekend’s victims were minors, and two children died, officials told Fox32. That includes 14-year-old boy who was among four people who were killed in the South Side neighborhood Englewood on Saturday evening.

But instead of blaming the criminals, the Chicago Sun-Times seem to think that “cutting funding for police could lead to a better and safer Chicago”.

Seriously?

Do people actually believe such nonsense?

Philadelphia is another major city that is seeing a massive increase in violent crime at the same time funding for the police is being cut back…

Shootings are up 67 percent. Victims of armed violence are up 29 percent. Homicides are up 25 percent. So of course it makes sense to defund the Philadelphia PD by $19 million.

Most Americans desperately want their neighborhoods to feel safe, and this could be the one issue that could rescue the Republicans from a potential disaster in the November election.

Right now, most Democrats are extremely hesitant to speak out against the violent protests that we have been witnessing all over the nation, and that is a huge mistake.

And we definitely witnessed more alarming violence during the political protests that were held over the past few days.  For example, protesters in Portland were launching projectiles and shooting fireworks at police officers in Portland for hours.  If Democrats want to win over independent voters, they cannot be seen as siding with such violence.

By engaging in such utter lawlessness, these radical protesters are actually hurting their own cause, because it is only going to help President Trump.

The more violence that we see, the more the American people are going to want it to stop.  If tens of millions of voters believe that “Joe Biden’s America” is an America filled with rioting, looting and violence, that could potentially be enough to push Trump over the top in November.

So Joe Biden’s unwillingness to strongly call for law and order may turn out to be his Achilles heel.

The way national elections are won in America is by winning over the millions of confused people in the middle, and right now the images of these protests that those confused people are viewing on their television screens are definitely not helping Democrats.  For example, over the weekend protesters in New York were burning American flags as they chanted “America was never great”

FAR left protesters have burned American flags outside Trump Tower and the White House.

Video shows the Stars and Stripes being burned just outside the White House as the demonstrators chanted “America was never great”.

Does anyone out there actually think that such stunts will make the confused people in the middle more likely to vote for Democrats?

Right now, Trump is way behind in the polls, but if he makes these protesters the central issue of the campaign over the next several months he may still have a chance of winning.

But no matter who wins in November, it appears that we have now entered a new era of violence and rioting in this country.

Many of our major cities already resemble war zones, and what we have experienced so far is just the beginning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In fact, those numbers are absolutely abysmal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that will change very abruptly in just a few weeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those are not jobs that have already been lost.

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

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

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

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

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

But this wasn’t supposed to happen.

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

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

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

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

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