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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In fact, those numbers are absolutely abysmal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Media-Induced Fear Of COVID-19 Is Starting To Cause A Second Wave Of Severe Economic Panic

Fear of COVID-19 absolutely crippled the U.S. economy during the first half of this year, and now it appears that there are some people that are pushing for that to happen again during the second half of 2020.  Earlier this evening, I came across a headline that boldly declared that there will be “180,000 U.S. deaths of COVID-19 by October”, and right now just about every mainstream news outlet is running stories about how the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is surging.  And it is definitely true that we are seeing an alarming rise in the number of confirmed cases.  In fact, the number of new cases in the U.S. on Wednesday set a new record

The U.S. broke its record for the highest coronavirus cases recorded in a single day, with 36,358 new positives reported on Wednesday, according to a tally by NBC News.

Wednesday’s cases top the previous highest day count from April 26 — the first peak of the pandemic in the U.S. — by 73 cases, according to NBC News tracking data. The World Health Organization saw its single-day record on Sunday with more 183,000 cases worldwide.

The mainstream media is treating this as some sort of a big shock, but of course the truth is that this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

For months, I have been telling my readers that the lockdowns would “flatten the curve” for a while and that the number of cases would start to spike again once the lockdowns ended.  That is exactly what has happened, but anyone with even a little bit of common sense could have anticipated this.

Earlier this year, states in the northeastern portion of the nation were the epicenter for the outbreak in this country, but now it is states in the southern and western sections of the nation that have become the most prominent hotspots…

Arizona, California, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and South Carolina reported record-high new daily coronavirus cases during this week, as case counts continue to rise in more than half of U.S. states.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state is facing a massive outbreak with another 5,000 cases reported Wednesday. California Gov. Gavin Newsom reported Wednesday 7,149 tested positive, a record number for the nation’s largest state. Both states this week surpassed the entire European Union on the average number of daily cases.

Things are particularly bad in California.  Over the past two days, we have seen a 69 percent increase in the number of newly confirmed cases…

The California Department of Public Health reported its second straight record jump in coronavirus cases on Wednesday as the state joins a handful of others with growing case numbers.

California reported an additional 7,149 Covid-19 cases since Tuesday, a 69% increase in two days, bringing the state’s total to 190,222 cases, according to the state’s health department. The previous highest day jump was reported on Tuesday when the state recorded 5,019 additional new cases.

Needless to say, the snowflake politicians in California are going to be even less eager to return to business as usual than they were before.  And since the state of California accounts for more economic activity than any other U.S. state does, this is going to be a major drag on the U.S. economy as a whole.

If this pandemic keeps dragging on for a couple more years, what are states like California going to do?  Many had anticipated that life would be getting back to normal by now, but instead we are starting to see things go in reverse.  In fact, we just learned that the reopening of Disneyland has been postponed indefinitely

Disney is delaying the phased reopening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, the company’s flagship theme parks in California, the company said on Wednesday.

The resort, located in Anaheim, California, was set to welcome back guests on July 17 after being closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Other very large corporations are making similar moves.  For example, Apple just shut down a whole bunch of their stores because of this new surge in coronavirus cases

On Friday, stocks slumped as second wave fears were reignited following a report that Apple would temporarily shutter 11 U.S. retail stores across Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina.”Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement.“We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible.”

Fast forward to today, when with stocks already sliding on renewed virus of a second wave of virus infections, moments ago Apple reported that it would re-close another 7 stores in Houston and Texas due to the coronavirus spike.

According to the optimists, this wasn’t supposed to happen.  The worst part of this pandemic was supposed to be over, and it was supposed to be all downhill from here.

But instead it has become exceedingly clear that this virus will be with us for a long time to come.  New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have all announced that those traveling in from nine different states where COVID-19 is out of control will be forced into mandatory quarantine for 14 days, and police in New York will actually be actively searching for vehicles that have license plates from those particular states…

In New York, cops will stop cars with license plates from the affected states to ask the person why they are not quarantining and how long they have been in the state for.

The quarantine applies to any state with infection rate of 10 infections per 100,000 people on a seven day rolling average or 10 percent of the total population testing positive.

Speaking of New York, this pandemic has already had a much larger financial impact than most observers had anticipated.

In particular, New York City is facing a nine billion dollar reduction in tax revenue, and Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the city may be forced to let 22,000 workers go

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is considering 22,000 layoffs and furloughs among its 326,000 employees to cut $1 billion of expenses after lockdown-related revenue losses.

De Blasio has projected a $9 billion loss in tax revenue over the next two years because of the pandemic.

Sadly, a whole lot more government workers will be fired across the country before this crisis is over.

Of course things are even worse for the private sector, and we continue to get more examples of this every single day.  On Tuesday, we learned that GNC has decided to declare bankruptcy

GNC Holdings Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Tuesday, has released an initial list of stores that will close.

The list posted at the Pittsburgh-based chain’s site, GNCevolution.com, includes 248 closing stores, including 219 U.S. locations and 29 in Canada.

And we have also just learned that the end may be near for Chuck E. Cheese

The coronavirus pandemic could spell the end of Chuck E. Cheese. The popular kid’s restaurant had to close its 610 locations nationwide during the outbreak. Now, $1 billion in debt has Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company, CEC Entertainment, approaching bankruptcy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that CEC is asking lenders for a $200 million to keep its business going.

I haven’t been to a Chuck E. Cheese in many years, but when I was a kid I absolutely loved to eat there.

As a youngster, it seemed like such a magical place, and now it deeply saddens me to hear that the company may not survive.

In the end, a lot more iconic companies will go under as America plunges even deeper into this new economic depression.

Fear of a virus has turned our economy completely upside down, and thanks to the mainstream media much of the population is going to remain deathly afraid of this virus for the foreseeable future.

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 This The Lowest Point In Modern U.S. History?

Things have certainly gotten really crazy here in 2020.  First we witnessed the eruption of the worst global pandemic in 100 years, then the U.S. economy started collapsing, and then we watched major U.S. cities burn from coast to coast as rioting and looting spiraled out of control.  Everywhere you look, people are very angry and deeply frustrated, nearly 46 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits over the past few months, and fear of COVID-19 continues to paralyze our society to a frightening extent.  But can this really be called the lowest point in modern U.S. history?  According to one recent survey, a whopping 72 percent of all Americans actually believe that this “is the lowest point in the country’s history that they’ve ever been alive to see”…

Across two polls, more than 5,000 adult U.S. residents were recently surveyed on the state of America right now. A staggering 83% say that worrying about the future of the United States is a big source of personal stress. Also, 72% believe this is the lowest point in the country’s history that they’ve ever been alive to see.

That appears to be quite a consensus.

Of course many of those that were alive during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the early days of World War II would strongly argue that what we are experiencing today is nothing compared to what they had to deal with.

And without a doubt, the twelve years from 1968 to 1980 were not easy years by any stretch of the imagination.  Just like now, Americans of that era were facing great civil unrest, tremendous economic problems, major political shaking and a global pandemic that killed a lot of people.  If you don’t know about that pandemic, just Google “the flu pandemic of 1968”.

Having said all that, there is definitely a case to be made for 2020.  Not even during the Great Depression did we ever see the kind of apocalyptic spike in unemployment that we have witnessed this year.  Even though nearly 46 million Americans have already filed for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began, big firms continue to lay off thousands upon thousands of workers.  On top of that, more than 100,000 businesses have already permanently closed their doors, and Americans have already skipped payments on more than 100 million loans.

And as I explained the other day, the most severe pain from this economic downturn won’t even begin to hit us until about six weeks from now.

As emergency government assistance starts to fade, an increasing number of Americans will have a very difficult time keeping up with paying the bills.  In fact, another new survey has found that about half of all homeowners are “worried about making future mortgage payments”

New research offers a glimpse into struggling households, discovers out of the 2,000 American homeowners polled, over half (52%) of respondents say they’re routinely worried about making future mortgage payments and nearly half (47%) considered selling their home because of the inability to service mortgage payments.

The study, conducted by OnePoll and the National Association of Realtors, determined 81% of respondents had experienced unexpected financial stress due to the virus-induced recession. Over half (56%) reduced spending so they could service mortgage payments.

Meanwhile, fear of COVID-19 is going to continue to paralyze our society for the foreseeable future.

I don’t know if you have taken a look at the numbers lately, but the truth is that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is starting to surge again.  For the planet as a whole, Friday was the worst day of the pandemic so far by a very wide margin, and that means that this crisis is a long, long way from over.

There are already whispers that there may be new lockdowns here in the United States.  I seriously hope that does not happen, because that would be another crippling blow for our collapsing economy, and the virus just continued to spread during the first round of lockdowns anyway.

On top of everything else, more rioting, looting and violence could erupt at literally any moment.  Since this is an election year, tensions are going to be running even higher than usual, and even a relatively minor spark could cause another round of major civil unrest.

But as bad as things are right now, what most people don’t understand is that this is just the beginning.

As I have warned so many times before, we have entered a time when we are going to be facing one crisis after another, and this is going to be true no matter what happens during the election in November.

We have reached a moment in history when all of the cycles are ending, all of the bubbles are bursting, and we are going to experience the consequences of all the very foolish decisions that we have been making for decades.

At this point, the immediate outlook is so bleak that it is turning all sorts of people into raging pessimists.  For example, Wolf Richter just posted an article in which he explained why he just shorted the entire stock market

I’m sharing this trade so that everyone gets to ridicule me and hail me as a moron and have fun at my expense in the comments for weeks and months every time the market goes up. And I do not recommend shorting this market; it’s nuts. But here’s why I did.

The stock market had just gone through what was termed the “greatest 50-day rally in history.” The S&P 500 index had skyrocketed 47% from the intraday low on March 23 (2,192) to the close on June 8 (3,232). It was a blistering phenomenal rally. Since June 8, the market has gotten off track but not by much. It’s still a phenomenal rally. And it came during the worst economy in my lifetime.

I know that a lot of people will criticize him for making such a move, but I applaud him for his bravery.

Even if his timing turns out to be a bit early, I certainly concur with him that this latest Fed-fueled bubble will inevitably burst.

But ultimately we are going to be facing problems that are much more severe than a stock market crash.  In fact, a market crash will be among the least of our problems.

Because it isn’t just our economy that is collapsing.

Our entire society is in the process of imploding, and if you don’t like 2020, then you really aren’t going to like what is going to happen in 2021 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.

Americans Have Already Skipped Payments On More Than 100 Million Loans, And Job Losses Continue To Escalate

Those that have been hoping for some sort of a “V-shaped recovery” have had their hopes completely dashed.  U.S. workers continue to lose jobs at a staggering rate, and economic activity continues to remain at deeply suppressed levels all over the nation.  Of course this wasn’t supposed to happen now that states have been “reopening” their economies.  We were told that things would soon be getting back to normal and that the economic numbers would rebound dramatically.  But that is not happening.  In fact, the number of Americans that filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week was much higher than expected

Weekly jobless claims stayed above 1 million for the 13th consecutive week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the U.S. economy.

First-time claims totaled 1.5 million last week, higher than the 1.3 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting. The government report’s total was 58,000 lower than the previous week’s 1.566 million, which was revised up by 24,000.

To put this in perspective, let me once again remind my readers that prior to this year the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000.  So even though more than 44 million Americans had already filed initial claims for unemployment benefits before this latest report, there were still enough new people losing jobs to more than double that old record from 1982.

That is just astounding.  We were told that the economy would be regaining huge amounts of jobs by now, but instead job losses remain at a catastrophic level that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history.

With the addition of this latest number, a grand total of nearly 46 million Americans have now filed initial claims for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

If you can read that statement and still believe that the U.S. economy is not imploding, I would like to know what you are smoking, because it must be pretty powerful.

Some of the things that we are seeing happen around the country right now are absolutely nuts.  For example, earlier this week in Kentucky it was being reported that people were waiting in line for up to 8 hours to talk with a state official face to face about their unprocessed unemployment claims…

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

By now, the U.S. economy was supposed to be roaring back to life and we were supposed to be entering a new golden age of American prosperity.

Unfortunately, the truth is that more bad economic news is hitting us on a continual basis, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

Over the past few days, we have learned that Hilton is laying off 22 percent of its corporate staff, and AT&T has announced that it will be eliminating 3,400 jobs and closing 250 stores…

The wireless carrier AT&T is cutting 3,400 jobs and shutting down 250 stores over the next few weeks, according to a statement from the Communications Workers of America, a union representing AT&T workers.

The AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless retail closures will affect 1,300 jobs, while the other layoffs are said to be affecting technical and clerical workers.

Needless to say, all of these job losses are having a tremendous ripple effect throughout the economy.

Without paychecks coming in, a lot of Americans are having a really tough time paying their bills, and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that payments have already been skipped on more than 100 million loans…

Americans have skipped payments on more than 100 million student loans, auto loans and other forms of debt since the coronavirus hit the U.S., the latest sign of the toll the pandemic is taking on people’s finances.

The number of accounts that enrolled in deferment, forbearance or some other type of relief since March 1 and remain in such a state rose to 106 million at the end of May, triple the number at the end of April, according to credit-reporting firm TransUnion.

Wow.

To me, that is an almost unimaginable number, and it has become clear that a tremendous amount of pain is ahead for the financial institutions that are holding these loans.

A lot of people out there are going to keep hoping that there will be some sort of an economic rebound, but the cold, hard reality of the matter is that fear of COVID-19 is going to keep a large segment of the population from resuming normal economic activities for the foreseeable future.  And it certainly doesn’t help that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has been steadily rising over the past couple of weeks and that the mainstream media has been endlessly warning that a “second wave” is coming.

If you doubt what I am saying, just look at what is happening to the restaurant industry.  We had started to see a small bit of improvement in the numbers, but now fear of a “second wave” has caused restaurant traffic to start cratering again

After three months of slow but consistent improvement in restaurant dining data in the US and across the globe, in its latest update on “the state of the restaurant industry”, OpenTable today reported the biggest drop in seated restaurant diners (from online, phone and walk-in reservations) since the depth of the global shutdown in March.

As shown in the OpenTable graphic below, on Sunday, June 14, restaurant traffic suddenly tumbled, sliding from a -66.5% y/y decline as of June 13 to -78.8% globally.

This was mostly due to a sharp drop in US restaurant diners, which plunged by 13% – from -65% to -78% – the biggest one day drop since the start of the shutdown in the US, and the second biggest one day drop on record.

Business travel is another area where we are seeing signs of big trouble ahead.  The following comes from Yves Smith

Business travel is not coming back any time soon. People are getting accustomed to Zoom. And word may also get out that domestic flying is much worse than it used to be, which will be a deterrent to those who might be so bold as to want to get on a plane. That is a fundamental blow to airlines, airport vendors, hotels, restaurants, and convention centers. Hotel occupancy in April was 24.5% which if anything seems high based on my personal datapoints. The pricings I see say that hotel operators are not expecting much if any improvement through the summer.

Like many of you, I wish that economic conditions would go back to the way they used to be, but that simply is not going to happen.

Yes, we will see economic numbers go up and down over the coming months, but a return to “the good times” is not in the cards.

And what hardly anyone realizes is that this is just the beginning of our problems, and I am working on a new project right now which will explain why this is true in great detail.

So stay tuned, because things are about to get really, really “interesting”.

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.

2020 Has Been A Miserable Year, And Americans Are The Unhappiest They Have Been In Ages

What a year this has been so far.  First, the greatest public health crisis in 100 years hit us, then the U.S. economy imploded, and now the streets of many of our major cities resemble war zones after weeks of rioting, looting and violence.  It has been one thing after another, and this has taken a great toll on the mental health of the American people.  Of course we weren’t exactly in great shape coming into this year.  In 2019, it was being reported that the suicide rate in the U.S. was at an all-time record high, alcohol-related deaths were at an all-time record high, and drug overdose deaths were at an all-time record high.  So the truth is that we were already deeply miserable before 2020 came along, and now a brand new survey has discovered that as a result of everything that has happened so far this year we have become even more unhappy

Spoiler alert: 2020 has been rough on the American psyche. Folks in the U.S. are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years.

This bold – yet unsurprising – conclusion comes from the COVID Response Tracking Study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. It finds that just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% who said the same in 2018.

Would you say that you are “very happy” with your life?

I hope so, and I would like to think that most of my readers are more content with their lives than the general population as a whole.

Personally, I would definitely label myself as “very happy”, but it looks like most of the population definitely does not feel the same way.

According to the survey, the coronavirus lockdowns are one of the big reasons why Americans are feeling less happy these days.  Being forced to stay away from others has caused many people to feel increasingly lonely

About twice as many Americans report being lonely today as in 2018, and not surprisingly given the lockdowns that tried to contain the spread of the coronavirus, there has also been a drop in satisfaction with social activities and relationships. Compared with 2018, Americans also are about twice as likely to say they sometimes or often have felt a lack of companionship (45% vs. 27%) and felt left out (37% vs. 18%) in the past four weeks.

Humans are inherently social creatures, and we were created to love and be loved.

I think that our politicians greatly underestimated the damage that social isolation would cause for many people.  In some cases, the consequences have been absolutely devastating.

Meanwhile, a lot of Americans are also feeling unhappy these days due to economic reasons.

Up to this point in 2020, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently shut down, economic activity all over the planet has dropped precipitously, and more than 44 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits.

Initially, it was hoped that most of those jobs would eventually come back, but now it has become very clear that is not going to happen.  In fact, one new estimate is projecting that a whopping 42 percent of the job losses “will be permanent”

“50% of U.S. job losses come from the combination of lockdown and weak demand, 30% from the reallocation shock, and 20% from high unemployment benefits,” Bloomberg found.

A report by the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago estimated 42% of layoffs that occurred as a result of the pandemic will be permanent.

In other words, millions upon millions of Americans that have lost their jobs during this pandemic will never be getting their old jobs back.

When I first started telling my readers that a lot of these jobs would never return, I got some really nasty emails.

There were some people that were absolutely incensed that I would suggest such a thing, but now the truth of the matter has become obvious to everyone.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the population was not prepared for an economic shock of this magnitude.  In fact, another new survey has found that 33 percent of all Americans “do not feel prepared to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic”

Even before COVID-19 was a household name, many Americans struggled to build up an emergency fund. Now, for some, the need for such a foundation is painfully clear. A full third – 33% – of respondents said they do not feel prepared to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic.

“If our current financial situation gets worse before it gets better, Americans need to have money set aside that they can lean back on as a last resort,” Frerichs said. “If you don’t currently have an emergency fund, try to set aside as much as you can every month, and aim to build enough to cover between three and six months of living expenses.”

For years, I have been strongly urging my readers to build up their emergency funds, and hopefully most of them heeded that advice.

Because things are not going to be turning around any time soon.  The bad news is that much of the economic suffering that had been deferred by unprecedented government intervention is about to hit us in a major way, and the really bad news is that the economic problems that we are facing now are going to pale in comparison to what we will be facing in future years.

Needless to say, this is going to put even more stress on the mental health of Americans.

So if you think that people are going absolutely nuts right now, just wait until you see how bad things get when our society really starts to melt down.

But just because things will be falling apart all around you does not mean that you have to be personally miserable.

If you derive meaning and purpose in life from your career, your ambitions, your bank account, your social status and all of the things you have accumulated, then you will definitely have an exceedingly difficult time dealing with the things that are coming.

However, if instead you choose to derive meaning and purpose in life from the things that really matter, you will not be shaken even if all of your plans, programs and material possessions are taken from you.

All of human history has been building up to the moment that we are living in right now, and you were born for such a time as this.  So don’t crawl into a hole and complain about how bad things are as conditions deteriorate.  Instead, choose to stand up and become the person that you were created to be.

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

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