Some wild guesses on the near-term impact of the pandemic.

May 16, 2020, 8:37 am

Lots of people are starting to make guesses on what the impact will be from the pandemic on different industries over the next few years. No guess is better than another, so here is some speculation for your consideration.

The longer the economy of major states stay closed by deliberate choice of multiple governors the worse the effect is going to be. At some point there will be a disproportionately compounding effect with every extra week.

Discussion in this post brings together speculation for

  • higher education,
  • retail, and
  • airlines.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Higher Education

A flood of articles are discussing damage to the higher education world. Eventually all colleges and universities will concede they have to refund something in the range of half a semester of room and board.

More institutions are getting pressure, if not getting served with litigation papers, to refund a portion of Spring 2020 tuition. Pressure is growing to discount tuition in the fall if classes are held online.

There is a growing probability there will be a severe impact over the next few years. One of many articles discussing the possibilities:

5/11/20 – New York Magazine/Intelligencer – The Coming Disruption/Scott Galloway predicts a handful of elite cyborg universities will soon monopolize higher education – One commentator perceives there has been a substantial drop in the value, price, and product of higher education.

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Intentional decisions by state governments increased death tally in nursing homes.

May 15, 2020, 10:27 am

New York order sending people sick from coronavirus to nursing homes. 

Multiple states, including New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania required nursing homes to admit or readmit people who were sick with Covid-19. A lot of articles have appeared describing the impact of these intentional policies.

In case you are like me and have a hard time believing reports that government officials would knowingly implement such policies, a copy of the New York order is provided above.

Just a small selection of the articles appearing of late:

5/13/20 – Newsweek – Pennsylvania Health Secretary moved mother out of nursing home as coronavirus death toll increased in state – The Health Secretary of Pennsylvania, Dr. Rachel Levine relocated her mother out of a care facility as the death tally of senior citizens in care facilities increased.

Pennsylvania is one of the states that ordered care facilities to admit people who were COVID-19 positive and thus contagious.

5/13/20 – Daily Wire – Some States Forced Nursing Homes To Accept Corona virus Patients. Many Died As A Result. This Is A Massive Scandal. – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and California all required that nursing homes take in people who were COVID-19 positive.

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Three million new claims for unemployment insurance last week.

May 15, 2020, 6:00 am

Unemployment by Kevin Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/9/20 are just under three million, seasonally adjusted.

The tally of seasonally adjusted new claims is 36.5 million since the economy was put in an induced coma.

Data

Weekly press release from the Department of labor: Unemployment insurance weekly claims

3/14/20 – Wall Street Journal – Nearly 3 Million Jobless Benefits Last Week – Seasonally adjusted new claims for unemployment were 2.981M in the week ending May 3. That brings cumulative new claims to around 36.5M.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Summary of new claims and running total

Here is my running tally of the new unemployment claims.

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Los Angeles County will extend safer-at-home order for another three months. Goal is to test every resident every day.

May 13, 2020, 10:00 am

How much more of this will we see if L.A. County is closed for five months?  Poverty by Joe Green is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

“With all certainty” the safer-at-home orders that have shut down the County of Los Angeles will be extended another three months, through August 15. That will make five months of crippling shutdown along with devastation to the economy along with expected damage to physical and emotional health and the consequent increase in excess mortality.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/12/20 – Daily Bulletin – Ferrer: L. A. County likely to extend stay-home orders for another three months

Had to check that report against other media sources to make sure that it wasn’t just one outfit making it up. Turns out it is not an April fool’s day joke.

The county’s Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer later issued a press release which said the goal is to test every citizen of the county every day.  (These posts are going to start naming names for future accountability of the reasonably foreseeable, fully expected excess deaths that will take place.)

Current level of testing in LA County is running at 15,000 per day.

Testing in the United States is running about 150,000 per day.

Population of Los Angeles County is 10,040,000 in 2019.

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Growing levels of devastation from the shutdown.

May 13, 2020, 8:37 am

Recession by EpicTop10.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Previous post explains the County of Los Angeles intends to continue the stay-at-home orders for another three months. That will make five months of the economy being shut down. Poor people falling behind five months on their rent and car payments. Five months of no revenue for most businesses.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

To highlight the devastation caused by the shutdown here are merely a few of the recent articles to consider for the consequences of said shutdown:

Increase in suicides

5/7/20- Breitbart – Report: Suicide rise from lockdowns to kill more than coronavirus in Australia – Researchers at a university in Australia estimate there will be a doubling of the suicide rate in the country because of the economic lockdown. If that horrible estimate is even close to correct, far more Australians will die by their own hand than are killed by coronavirus.

Devastation in healthcare industry

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These government actions during the shutdown are not the first chapter in some hot-off-the-press dystopian novel.

May 12, 2020, 8:54 am

Ninety days ago the following stories would have been nothing more than the opener to a scary fantasy about some dystopian future. I am nowhere near creative enough to guess how bizarre the plot line would have been to incorporate these fantastical events.

Now approaching the end of the eighth week of California lockdown it is still hard to believe the stories are true instead of the figment of a creative sci-fi writer.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/6/20 – ABC news – Historic New York City subway shutdown for cleaning deemed “successful” – For the first time in over 100 years the entire New York City subway system was closed for a while overnight, specifically between 1 AM and 5 AM so that staff could clean every subway car.

The shutdown will be repeated every night in order to clean the cars.

Based on numerous comments I have read elsewhere, but for which I don’t have specific citations, this is apparently the first time the subway cars been disinfected since the coronavirus pandemic erupted.

If I get this straight after having read multiple articles, the subway cars had not been disinfected until 5/5/20, making them a major source of viral spread in the city.

This next story is more weird. It is sufficiently out there into the surreal realm that I had to cross check it with other articles to make sure it wasn’t fabricated. Turns out it’s actually real.

Required spreading of coronavirus into at-risk communities

5/5/20 – New York Post – New York’s coronavirus nursing home death toll didn’t have to be so high  and  5/1/20 – New York Post – Cuomo’s nursing home policies amid coronavirus “a disaster,” says ex-Gov. Pataki

Nursing homes in New York were forced to take COVID-positive patients as residents. Let me rephrase that…

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U-3 and U-6 Unemployment rate.

May 9, 2020, 11:00 am

For a number of years I have been tracking the monthly unemployment data. That information is shown in the graph above. Included is monthly information back to April 2010. Prior to that I only picked up a few data points.

This graph shows the hit from the Great Recession and the painfully slow recovery which followed.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Six different ways to measure unemployment

There are actually six different ways to calculated labor underutilization, all provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economic devastation caused by the shutdown of the US economy means we need to start looking at these different indicators.

The above graph shows what is referred to as the U-3 and U-6 rates.

“What in the world are you talking about,” I hear you ask.

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Unemployment rate rises to 14.7% in April.

May 9, 2020, 8:04 am

Shutting down the economy has predictable, expected consequences. One that became visible on Friday was 20 million jobs vaporizing in the last month which resulted in an expected soaring unemployment rate.

A ban on everything other than immediate emergency medical care has cratered revenue of hospitals bringing layoffs to the entire industry.

Finally, making unemployment benefits higher than the earning capacity of a large portion of people has the fully expected consequence of making people hesitant to return to work.

This discussion will be posted across several of my blogs.

5/8/20 – Wall Street Journal – April Unemployment Rate Rose to a Record 14.7% – Thirty-three million people filing a first-time claim for unemployment drove the unemployment rate to 14.7%. Oh, lots of those new claims were filed after the cutoff for the April calculations.

A staggering 20.5 million jobs disappeared. Article points out the number of jobs destroyed are equal to all the job gains over the last decade.

Picture it this way – that is the equivalent of everybody who found a job over the last decade getting laid off.

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More big businesses failing. Revised budget forecast for state of California shows even governments are going to have a hard time when the economy is frozen. Maybe it is time to restart the economy.

May 8, 2020, 8:23 am

Even the state government in California may be starting to realize that putting the economy in a deep freezer for an extended and unknown period of time might have some adverse consequences.

Just a few of the business casualties over the last few days:

  • Neiman Marcus (bankruptcy filed)
  • Souplanation/Sweet Tomatoes restaurants (all 97 stores permanently closing)
  • Lord & Taylor (likely BK)
  • J. Crew (bankruptcy filed)
  • J. C. Penney (likely BK)

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

California budget deficit

5/7/20 – ABC news – California doom: Staggering $54 billion budget deficit looms 

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3.2 million new claims for unemployment last week. Running out of negative words to describe the severity of job losses.

May 7, 2020, 8:20 am

Unemployment by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/2/20 are 3,169,000, seasonally adjusted.

The tally of new claims is 33.48 million since the economy was put in an induced coma.

That means about 1 out of every 5 people in the civilian labor force back in February are out of a job today.

I’m running out of words to describe how horribly the economy has been hit. Seem to have exhausted the adjectives that apply. We have a terrible mess and it is going to take a long time to fully recover from the lost jobs and even longer to recover consumer and business confidence.

This discussion will be posted across several of my blogs.

Data:

Expectations from economists interviewed by the WSJ, or perhaps we should say their wild guesses, are the flood of new claims will taper off in May. Will likely be months before the new jobs exceed the new unemployment claims. Will likely be years before new jobs offset the tidal waves of job losses in March, April, and May.

Summary of new claims and running total

I have prepared a running tally of the new unemployment claims, which is shown below.

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Economic devastation from shutdown spreads. Signs showing of deteriorating health and increased deaths caused by shutdown.

May 7, 2020, 6:00 am

Indications of damage caused by the shutdown are getting stronger. First articles are appearing to describe the harm to health from the shutdown.

Comments today:

  • Estimated 35 deaths from not getting cardiac care in Ontario, Canada
  • Indications people are not seeing doctors and not getting meds they need
  • Harsh impact on Jewish owned businesses
  • New vehicle sales collapsing
  • Temp layoffs transition to permanent
  • More students suing more universities, now claiming discount on tuition for missing out on the on-campus experience

This discussion will be posted across several of my blogs.

Damage to health from shutdown

5/5/20 – Daily Wire – Dozens Dead After Lockdown Measures Delayed Their Heart Surgeries; Health Official: “Certainly Was Not Intended” – Count this as the first in what I predict will be an exquisitely long list of unintended consequences from putting the economy into an induced coma. The sad part is these unintended consequences were predictable and expected.

Thousands upon thousands of needed health procedures were canceled in Ontario, Canada in order to make room for the massive surge of coronavirus patients which never arrived.

New study in Ontario estimates that 35 people are dead because their heart surgeries were postponed. There were 12,200 surgeries and other procedures postponed each week.

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California starts first few steps to start opening up the stalled economy.

May 6, 2020, 9:54 pm

Economic doors will start to open on Friday – Opening or closing? by Paolo Gamba is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Friday of this week, 5/8, California will take the first baby steps to revive the state’s economy. Some retail stores will be able to provide curb-side delivery of products.

I don’t quite know how many people will order clothes online in order to pick them up at a store’s curb, but that is a first step.

At least half the value of a bookstore is browsing the shelves to see what book you really have to read right but that you previously didn’t even know existed.

Well, it’s a baby step.

Several articles describe the beginning here in the state. First article describes that government officials better start opening up quick or they will find the everyone already has done so.

5/1/20 – Forbes – Apple Data Shows Shelter-In-Place Is Ending, Whether Governments Want It To Or Not – Apple and Foursquare are tracking data that show people are getting out more.

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Economic stats show rapid disintegration of economy. Collapse in physical and emotional health won’t be this easy to calculate.

April 30, 2020, 7:43 am

The economic statistics are rolling out to show the initial impact of the shutdown of the economy.

The collateral effect the shutdown and isolation will have on deteriorating emotional and mental health along with increased mortality due to postponed or canceled medical treatment will take years to quantify.

New stats in last few days:

  • 3.8 million new unemployment claims this week
  • New unemployment claims in six weeks are now equal to 18% of the people who were working in February
  • CBO expects unemployment rate to average 11% for 2020
  • 4.8% annualized drop in GDP for first quarter

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

New claims for unemployment

4/30/20 – Department of Labor – Unemployment insurance weekly claims – Another 3,839,000 people filed an initial claim for unemployment in the week ending April 25.

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The shutdown will be relaxed, one way or another.

April 27, 2020, 10:30 am

Time to use the other side of those signs. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

If the politicians don’t start relaxing the lockdown and letting people pay their rapidly accumulating bills, bunches of people are going to take the initiative and do so on their own.

I sense there is a limited time for those in power to start loosening the extreme restrictions or people are going to start ignoring parts of the rules.

At a deeper level, the concern I have is what’s referred to as the “social contract.” Government gets its authority from consent of the governed.

If a large number of people get to the point of concluding the rules in places like California and Virginia are unnecessarily severe and are causing more health, mental, social, and economic damage than they prevent, people will conclude our leaders have broken the contract.

If we get to that point, respect for law and respect for public officials will decline. That is not a good place to go.

 

Next two articles point out a small number of people who have already reached that conclusion:

4/20/20 – Daily Wire – “Social Shredding”: Defiant Residents Grab Shovels, Dirt Bikes After Cali Authorities Dump Tons of Sand In Skateparks For ‘Social Distancing’ – Officials in San Clemente California noticed teenagers were committing the grave sin of skating in the city’s skate park. Well, that is patently unacceptable, so the city dumped 37 tons of sand into the skate park in an effort to shut down the skating. Since the park is at the beach, sand was readily available.

Well, the city officials did not take into consideration the incredible level of creativity present in humans, especially Americans.

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The horrid news just keeps on rolling.

April 23, 2020, 7:21 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The news feels like we are moving ever deeper into an over-the-top dystopian novel. Unfortunately this isn’t fiction.

Another 4 million unemployment claims last week and ongoing attacks on the First Amendment.

About the only job specialty in the country today with bright growth prospects in the near term is trial attorney.

(This post will cross-published on several of my blogs.)

New unemployment claims

4/23/20 – Department of Labor – Unemployment insurance weekly claims – an additional 4,427,000 people filed their initial claim for unemployment in the week ending April 18. Here is another article in case link is dynamic.

This is on top of the four previous weeks of horrible levels of new claims.

Here is a summary of the unreal news. Recap shows number of new claims for unemployment for the last five weeks with a subtotal. The number of people who were unemployed in March is then listed with my estimate of the total unemployment now.

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