Devastation from government ordered shutdown of the economy – 1 of 3

September 1, 2020, 11:10 am

What the California economy might look like by the time it is allowed to reopen. Photo of abandoned farm in North Dakota by James Ulvog.

Over the last several weeks I have accumulated a number of articles describing the economic and health damage caused by the government ordered shutdown of the economy.

I’ve been wanting to post these for a while. In light of the California government imposing more severe constraints on when the economy will be allowed to start functioning again, it is now time to publish.

Economic damage

7/30/20 – Wall Street Journal – US Economy Contracted at Record Rate last Quarter; Jobless Claims Rise to 1.43 million – The preliminary estimate of the collapse in the US economy for the second quarter came in at an annualized 32.9% drop. Again, that is annualized. In addition, it will be revised in each of the next two months as additional data is gathered by the feds.

That follows an annualized drop of 5% in the first quarter.

8/25/20 – CNBC – American Airlines to cut 19,000 jobs when federal aid expires in OctoberRead the rest of this entry »


Number of new unemployment claims rises for week of 8/15/20, but new jobs continue to exceed new losses.

August 25, 2020, 8:35 am

Unemployed business people. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

For the first time since 4/4/20, the number of new claims for unemployment increased for the 8/15/20 reporting date. Oddly, the increase of 109K is small for the time of pandemic but would be equal to about 4 weeks of new claims before the pandemic hit.

As I continue to sort out what this means, I’ll continue giving the same stats as provided for recent weeks.

Since the middle of June, which is when I started tracking this metric, the number of new jobs has exceeded the newly lost jobs by 5 million.

Looks to me like these stats suggest the economy is recovery, but at a slow pace, with unprecedented numbers of people still out of work at the same time as an extremely high number of new claims for unemployment are still rolling in.

 

The number of people drawing unemployment the number of new claims, and the resulting number of new jobs:

Read the rest of this entry »


New claims for unemployment increase for week of 7/18/20.

July 24, 2020, 12:26 pm

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

For the first time since 4/4/20, the number of new claims for unemployment increased for the week. Oddly, the increase of 109K is small for the time of pandemic, it would be equal to about 4 weeks of new claims before the pandemic hit.

As I continue to sort out what this means, I’ll continue giving the same stats as provided for recent weeks.

The number of people drawing unemployment the number of new claims, and the resulting number of new jobs:

Read the rest of this entry »


California shut down again.

July 21, 2020, 8:46 am

Economic performance, health outcomes, and educational achievements in California after a second round of shutdown. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We are a week into our second shutdown here in California.

Restaurants may only provide food to-go or for outdoor dining. The outdoor dining option only helps restaurants stay in business if they have enough outdoor patio space to have enough tables to provide enough customers to stay in business and then only if the temperature (during July and August) is tolerable.

Churches are prohibited from having worship services inside. Churches who are rich enough to have lots of outdoor space to sit in and well off enough to afford two sets of audio equipment can worship live. The first amendment has been partially suspended again.

Gyms, salons, and bars are closed.

On 7/14/20, the Wall Street Journal also explained the issue in a short editorial: California’s Second Shutdown.

The core issue:

A lockdown will cause more harm (economically, socially, psychologically, educationally, and emotionally) than the pandemic will cause.

Read the rest of this entry »


New claims for unemployment at 7/11/20 continue at high level. Good news is new jobs continue to be higher than lost jobs.

July 17, 2020, 8:53 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I’ve been scratching my head for a long time wondering how the tally of new unemployment claims can continue at skyhigh catastrophe levels while the unemployment rate has not gone vastly higher than it already has.

Head scratching from another direction – Number of new claims is steady at a level that is at least six times higher than it was right before the pandemic started yet the number of people drawing unemployment is declining.

How can that be?

 

Think I have finally sorted out the answer after several weeks of looking at additional data:

  • The number of new jobs created each week is running far higher than the number of lost jobs.

To get to this point for yourself, compare the number of people drawing unemployment with the change from week to week, add in the number of new unemployment claims, and then plug the difference as people who have gone back to work meaning they have found a job. It is too early for people to dropping off unemployment because their allowed weeks gas run out so the change in people drawing unemployment has to be new jobs. Let me know if I missed something in this concept.

Here is my analysis of the number of people drawing unemployment, the number of new claims, and the resulting number of new jobs:

week new back to # drawing
ended claims work unempl.
6/13/2020   1.54       20.29
6/20/2020   1.48     2.54       19.23
6/27/2020   1.41     1.88       18.76
7/4/2020   1.31     2.31       17.76
7/11/2020   1.30     1.72       17.34

 

Data source

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

Number of people drawing unemployment

Here is the weekly tally of people drawing unemployment, which is revised in the subsequent week:

Read the rest of this entry »


Headline unemployment rate drops by two percentage points in June 2020.

July 2, 2020, 9:50 am

Wow, I sure don’t understand what is happening.  The headline unemployment rate declined 2.2% in June. That is a big drop.

At the same time, new claims for unemployment were 6.01 million for the four weeks ending 6/27/20. See previous post: New unemployment claims barely decline in week ending 6/27/20.

(How to put that information together? Well, the reason I’m blogging is to put my thoughts into writing, which forces me to think deeper in order to sort out what is going on around me.)

The U-3 unemployment rate in last four months with change from previous month:

march        4.4
april      14.7      10.3
may      13.3      (1.4)
june      11.1      (2.2)

 

That is a 2.6% drop in two months after a 10.3% rise in April.

Wow.

Graph above shows key unemployment rates since the start of 2019.

This discussion will be posted at several of my blogs.

For longer term perspective, consider the rates since before the Great Recession:

Read the rest of this entry »


New unemployment claims barely decline in week ending 6/27/20.

July 2, 2020, 9:43 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

New unemployment claims for week ending 6/27/20 were 1.427M, down slightly from 1.480M the previous week. That is five weeks of between 1.4M and 1.9M following ten weeks of between 2.1M and 6.9M new claims.

The impact of new claims is mitigated by the number of people getting rehired which leads to the calculation of ongoing payments for unemployment.

  • 20.29M revised down from 20.5M- 6/13/20
  • 19.23M revised down from 19.52M – 6/20/20
  • 19.29M – 6/27/20 (a rare and exquisitely unexpected typo refers to this as the 6/20 week)

That shows the number of people finding new jobs is running higher than the number of people losing their jobs.

This discussion will be posted at several of my blogs.

My tally of data:

Read the rest of this entry »


New unemployment claims are still around 1.5 million per week.

June 25, 2020, 8:31 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

New unemployment claims for week ending 6/20/20 were 1.480M, down slightly from 1.540M the previous week, which was revised upward from 1.508M.

The impact of new claims is mitigated by the number of people getting rehired. That leads to the calculation of ongoing payments for unemployment which are:

  • 20.5M, revised to 20.289M – 6/13/20
  • 19.52M – 6/20/20

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Data:

Read the rest of this entry »


Unemployment rate starts to decline in May 2020 after shooting up in April.

June 22, 2020, 8:35 am

The headline unemployment rate declined to 13.3% from 14.7% in April. Rates for both months are a dramatic increase from the 3.5% rate in February.

The only way I can square this data with the massive volume of new unemployment claims is that a lot of people are getting new jobs after being furloughed. That is the only way the U3 is not above 20%.

So, my tentative guess is the economy is actually starting to recover, in spite of efforts of multiple governors to keep the economy in their states shut down.

Misclassification error in data understates unemployment

A new phenomenon in the age of shutdown is arising from the way the data is accumulated. The unemployment rate is determined by a large survey.

Turns out people are answering the question of their unemployment status as “employed but absent from work.” In normal times, that means a person is on vacation, thus actually employed.

In this shattered economy that means you got laid off or furloughed but are still getting paid by your employer or perhaps highly enhanced unemployment. People in that category are actually unemployed but are counted in the statistical data as employed.

Read the rest of this entry »


New unemployment claims since start of shutdown is about 1 out of 3 people who had a job in February.

June 18, 2020, 11:55 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the economic mess created by the shutdown.

New unemployment claims for week ending 6/13/20 were 1.508 million, seasonally adjusted, down from revised 1.566 million the previous week.

My tally of data:

  • 45.69 M – seasonally adjusted new claims since the economy was shut down – that is up 4.96 million in three weeks
  •   9.28 M  – new claims for unemployment by people who otherwise aren’t eligible for unemployment – self-employed and independent contractors
  • 54.97 M – total of seasonally adjusted plus independent contractors and self-employed people

Number of new claims for unemployment as percent of February civilian labor force:

Read the rest of this entry »


New unemployment claims since start of shutdown is equal to about 1 out of 4 people who had a job in February.

May 28, 2020, 6:03 am

If you could take a photograph of the US labor market today, the picture would look something like this. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A useful adjective to describe the devastation we are seeing in the job market escapes me.

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/16/20 were 2.12 million, seasonally adjusted. Nearly as many, 1.19 million who are not otherwise eligible unemployment filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in the week.

That’s somewhere around 3.3 million people who lost their job in week 10 of the shutdown.

My tally of data:

  • 40.73M – seasonally adjusted new claims since the economy was put in an induced coma
  • 6.82M – new claims for unemployment by people who otherwise aren’t eligible for unemployment – self-employed and independent contractors
  • 47.55M – total of seasonally adjusted plus independent contractors and self-employed people out of work since shutdown began

Number of new unemployment claims is a tally equal to about one fourth (24.8%) of the civilian labor force in February. Independent contractors and self-employed people who are out of work is now equal to about 4% of the February civilian labor market.

That means about three out of ten people who were in the civilian labor force in February are now out of a job (28.9%).

If you haven’t passed out from the shock of those numbers, Read the rest of this entry »


Economic destruction from lockdown continues to expand.

May 22, 2020, 9:14 am

There is severe danger that a growing number of businesses are going to look like this over the next few months. Abandoned Safeway store [01] by Ben Schumin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The damage from the lockdown is spreading. More news is emerging about the devastation that took place in just the first full month of the closure.

The damage will continue to grow the longer the shutdown continues. At some point it will start compounding, growing at a faster rate out of proportion to the time that is passing. Keeping the economy closed now is unnecessarily so the compounding damage is a choice.

Merely a few of the articles in recent days:

  • Guess on GDP shrinkage in next quarter
  • Disproportionate number of poorer households hit by job losses
  • Collapse of tax revenue in New York state
  • Collapse of home sales in Southern California
  • Another retail chain announce store closures and another announces liquidation

It is imperative to reopen the economy in full, not just for ‘curb-side delivery.’ If we don’t open soon, I fear the following articles will be mild in comparison to what we will see in the future.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/16/20 – Fox Business – US GDP could sink over 40%: Atlanta Fed – Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is forecasting a 42.8% drop in GDP for the second quarter of  2020.

Read the rest of this entry »


What word could be used to describe 44 million people filing for unemployment in just 9 weeks?

May 21, 2020, 2:54 pm

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I don’t have any word that can describe this disaster:

New unemployment claims for week ending 5/16/20 are just under 2.5 million, seasonally adjusted. An additional 2.2 million people who wouldn’t usually be qualified for unemployment filed during the week for Panemic Unemployment Assistance. The new PUA tally is shocking.

The tally of seasonally adjusted new claims is 38.6 million since the economy was put in an induced coma.

Data:

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

3/21/20– Wall Street Journal – Workers file 2.4 Million Unemployment Claims

Summary of new claims and running total

Here is my running tally of the new unemployment claims.

Read the rest of this entry »


The United States is in a mass casualty incident because of the lockdown. Damage to public health will get worse. Part 2 of 2.

May 21, 2020, 11:44 am

Allegory of where US economy is now and where public health is headed. COD Hosts Mass Casualty Incident Simulation 2016 81 by COD Newsroom is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The continuing lockdown is directly leading to a decline in health. Large volume of articles for many weeks now have been pointing this out.

This is second of two posts describing recent articles. Part 1 here. This will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/11/20 – Wall Street Journal – Medical Lockdown Will Cause a Disease Surge – Two practicing MDs point out that lots of people have not sought treatment during the pandemic for initial signs of some other form of illness. There will be a surge of people visiting doctors after the lockdown ends. Six or eight weeks of delay will not be an issue for many people but for others it will make their illness far worse and for some, unrecoverable.

Read the rest of this entry »


The United States is in a mass casualty incident because of the lockdown. Damage to public health will get worse. Part 1 of 2.

May 21, 2020, 10:25 am

Disaster exercise In Tel Aviv on November 11, 2010. Allegory to where the US public health will be in near term. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The continuing lockdown is directly leading to a decline in public health. Large volume of articles for many weeks now have been pointing this out.

This is first of two posts describing just a sampling of recent articles. This will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/19/20 – A Doctor a Day letter-signed; letter to Pres. Trump signed by over 500 doctors – You can read the letter yourself at the link.

A mass casualty incident is currently underway in the United States.

Letter explains the assessment protocol in a catastrophe:

“During a mass casualty incident, victims are immediately triaged to black, red, yellow, or green. The first group, triage level black, includes those who require too many resources to save during a mass crisis. The red group has severe injuries that are survivable with treatment, the yellow group has serious injuries that are not immediately life threatening, and the green group has minor injuries.”

Goal of medical providers during such a catastrophe is to focus treatment on the red group while making sure the yellow and green groups do not deteriorate a level.

Assessment by the doctors of where we are in the United States?

Red – millions of Americans are currently at triage level red. There are normally 150,000 Americans who are given a cancer assessment each month.

We now have two months of no testing which means there are over 300,000 Americans who have detectable cancer, don’t know it, and have not started any treatment. An unknown but calculable number of those will die because of the lack of testing during the shutdown.

Read the rest of this entry »