Week Four of the U.S. Labor Market Collapse

These layoffs are gut-wrenching and gigantic. But six states reported “fewer layoffs” in some industries – as there are not that many people left to lay off?

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

It’s a previously unimaginable and gut-wrenching magnitude: Over the past four weeks, including today’s report, 22.03 million initial unemployment claims have been processed.

In the week ended April 11, 5.245 million people filed initial unemployment claims, seasonally adjusted, the Department of Labor reported this morning, about eight times the peaks during the prior unemployment crises in 1982 and 2009. This is in addition to the 6.61 million initial claims a week ago, 6.87 million claims two weeks ago, and 3.3 million claims three weeks ago:

The unemployment claims reported today by the US Department of Labor are those that the state offices were able to process – not including the claims that have been filed but haven’t been processed yet.

The other day, California Governor Gavin Newsome discussed what the California Employment Development Department (EDD) is going through to catch up with the tsunami of unemployment claims, including training and transferring people from other sections to the claims department and extending call-center hours to the new schedule of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. He said that the EDD can now process about 1 million claims a week, and that, at the time he was speaking, it had already processed about 2.7 million claims since the lockdown started.

Other state unemployment offices have jumped through similar hoops and ramped up staffing to catch up with processing the historic onslaught of claims. And they’re making headway. What we’re seeing here are only the claims that have been processed – not the unprocessed claims that have been filed and are still waiting in the queue or require additional work.

The 10 states with the most initial claims this week.

The table below shows the 10 states that had the most initial claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended April 11:

Top 10 States, Initial Claims in the week ended Apr 11
1 California 660,966
2 New York 395,949
3 Georgia 317,526
4 Texas 273,567
5 Pennsylvania 238,357
6 Michigan 219,320
7 New Jersey 213,897
8 Florida 181,293
9 Ohio 157,218
10 Washington 150,516

Layoffs by sector.

Some of the states provided comments about the industries that the layoffs were concentrated in. Notably absent are the industries of finance and insurance – the biggest industry in the US. Also, industries where work-at-home is possible are largely absent; and only one state, Michigan, listed layoffs in “professional, scientific, and technical services.”

  • Accommodation
  • Retail trade
  • Wholesale trade
  • Food services (restaurants, cafeterias, etc.)
  • Social assistance
  • Healthcare (many healthcare service providers that deal with elective procedures, such as dentists, have shut down)
  • Administrative
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction

New development: “Fewer layoffs” in some industries

Six states where layoffs declined – California, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Missouri – listed in the comments the industries that had “fewer layoffs” than in the prior week. These industries may be getting closer to completing the initial wave of layoffs. And in some of the industries such as restaurants and accommodation, there may not be a lot of people left to lay off. These industries include:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing,
  • Accommodation (is there even anyone left to lay off?)
  • Transportation and warehousing
  • Food services
  • Healthcare and social assistance.

Number of “insured unemployed” soar to record

A person who has filed an “initial claim” for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and still doesn’t have a job a week later is added to “insured unemployment.”

The number of the “insured unemployed” skyrocketed to 11.98 million, by far the highest in the history of the data series. The prior record had been set a week ago at 7.45 million. The previous high was 6.63 million in May of 2009.

For the week ended April 11, the “insured unemployment rate” soared to 8.2%, blowing by the prior record of 7.0% set in May 1975. Given today’s initial claims, the “insured unemployment rate” will be in the double digits next week.

This “insured unemployment rate” is different from the survey-based unemployment rates that are released on a monthly basis in the jobs report. Those monthly unemployment rates attempt to show the percentage of people in the labor force who are actively pursuing employment but cannot find it, many of whom are not covered by unemployment insurance and are therefore not included in the UI data here. That monthly unemployment rate, when it catches up, will be far higher.

It looks like the tsunami of new layoffs is still huge but not quite as huge as it was a week ago, and it looks like states are making progress in catching up with processing unemployment claims after the catastrophic first three weeks. Estimates that the total number of initial unemployment claims during the lockdown would reach a gut-wrenching 25+ million appear to have been on target and will likely be reached in a week or two.

The second half of March was the end of retail for many retailers, while others had spiking sales. Brick & mortar department stores will never recover; they were toast before the lockdowns. Read… Here’s Where Retail Sales Spiked and Collapsed in 11 Mind-Blowing Charts of Lockdown Land

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  196 comments for “Week Four of the U.S. Labor Market Collapse

  1. Sporkfed says:

    For some, the job loss hit along with the
    401k hit, will be a one, two punch they will
    never recover from.
    Who will hire a 55 year old man without
    an extraordinary skill set at his former wage ?
    Here comes the lower standard of living at
    full speed.

    • Canadian says:

      That 55 year old guy was your core customer.

      When you lay him off, and he gets rehired at half his old wage or less, he will slash his spending.

      When that happens en masse, your pricing power as a business evaporates and your sales and margins plummet. Your short term “savings” cost you in the long run.

      You can see this at Apple right now. They just announced a $399 iPhone SE — I am betting that will be the new volume seller, replacing the prior mainstream SKU that cost 2x to 4x as much.

      Apple “saves money” through labor arbitrage, but an impoverished consumer class in their core markets who were all slashed to “save money” end up spending far, far less. Boom.

      • rhodium says:

        They don’t have to earn money. They’ll take their bailouts and wait for the U.S. consumer to show back up.

        Put the phones on display. Any time you guys are ready, just show up with the money.

        • Prairies says:

          That’s not how companies that pay dividends and have quarterly earnings calls work. The proof is in the new release of a half price Iphone SE, it is the old I8 phone chassis with the new I11 hardware and software inside.

          This phone could have been released before the crisis, but why would they? A half price phone during high times doesn’t bump up numbers, but at low times it can “flatten the curve” of the dip.

      • Joe Saba says:

        been dealing with this for past 15 years – then made over $100k
        remake myself as self employed – because I can work 1/2 time for same wages they want to pay full time(less than 1/3)
        I haven’t put $$$ into retirement for years now with another 5 before eligible for early ssi
        don’t have to worry about taking hit in ponzi wall street though
        not to worry – just 7 more years til medicare kicks in – be nice to have health insurance again

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        The 2020 iPhone se has nothing to do with the current crisis. Similar to the last iPhone se, they are reusing existing supply parts to make money on the lower end of the market, especially in developing countries. It was being planned for 1, possibly several years.

        It may be the major seller though for a while. After the new higher end IPhones come out later this year, I expect greatly declining improvements on every yearly iPhone model going forward. Because, after this year’s model, there won’t be much to improve on. Peak smartphone sales are likely approaching and over time, I expect prices to fall. And for an increasing amount of people to keep their phones until they break.

        • Canadian says:

          The iPhone SE is going to be the volume model moving forward.

          People who have been laid off, or who are worried they are about to, aren’t going to spend $800 to $1,500 on a smartphone that breaks after 12 to 18 months.

          They will opt for the $399 model… or even cheaper.

          You can get an excellent Android handset for under $100 now, which works great with a prepaid unlimited plan. People will rediscover those just as they “rediscovered” Walmart groceries once Whole Foods ran out of delivery slots.

    • S says:

      Believe it or not, it was that older employee who was most likely to buy a new car before the layoff.

      • Joe Saba says:

        fixed my truck instead
        now will wait to see fall out in auto market
        if blows up enough might get that nice truck I always wanted

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Worked for me Joe,,, laid off in 9, age 55,,, went on ”net” and studied as best I could,,, got hired in 16 at a much better salary, and subsequently ”worked at home” until mid 19 at even better net pay.
          Message for all of you younger boopmer types is, ” get to work improving your skills, and then, based on those skills improvements AND your long experiences,,, AND with any kind of marketing of both, you will actually be more ’employable’ than when you were last working.
          But, to be clear, very clear, YOU are going to have to do the work to update and improve YOUR skills,,, and that, with YOUR experience AND attitude, will make you more better.

      • Canadian says:


        70% of new vehicle sales were to people 40 and older.

    • Frederick says:

      Nobody will and that comes from personal experience

    • Shiloh1 says:

      Gotta move to a lower cost of living – especially lower property tax – locale, if possible. Absolutely let any relatives fend for themselves in place you are leaving. Many in Illinois will go down with the ship.

      • weinerdog43 says:

        “Many in Illinois will go down with the ship.”

        You must mean Wisconsin. People will go where the jobs are located. They are not in Wisconsin, Iowa or Indiana. If you’re top concern is taxes, you are missing the point.

        • Ed says:

          Each of your arguments make sense, depending on one’s age and field of work.

          There are some categories of job that are available in all of these states and do not pay better in Illinois. Think light manufacturing, just to name one example.

        • p coyle says:

          “Many in Illinois will go down with the ship.”

          yes, they will. i lived there for a long time. how this particular conundrum works out for them will probably be a window into our new future.

    • Thomas Roberts says:


      That 401k was never going to be there for most people to start with. Stocks have some real value, but they have been hugely overvalued. In order to get that stock price, someone has to buy that stock at that price in the volume you are selling. If a bunch of baby boomers start to retire, even without a financial crisis, they might flood the market with stocks and plunge the price. The question is who will buy those overvalued stocks.

      • JoeRocket says:

        The FED!!
        Seems to be the consensus of this learned forum. The Boomers will leave the BUST for the future. Fortunately, they may be mentally prepared for it and will simply carry on.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          It’s possible, but, unlikely the Fed could save the boomers stocks. Retirement money is one of the more complicated parts of economics, people don’t usually understand how money and prices actually work. What will likely happen is the Fed will protect stocks for a while, but, it will get too expensive and will have to abandon it. Otherwise, it would cause massive inflation, which would erode their value and other savings, as well as damage the whole economy. Right now, it’s not clear how much, but, there is a limit to how much debt us can have, before each additional trillion of debt, begins to have increasing consequences. As for boomers stocks, the ones already collecting or those about to, might drain the accounts, leaving them empty; this depends on the structure of retirement account and whether you actually own individual stocks in your name or you have a portion of a shared pool.

      • IAN THOMSON says:

        Might I suggest that some market participants may simply want to hold onto the shares that pay a nice dividend…..for income.

    • Im4truth4all says:

      James Stockdale talked about how he cultivated the mental strength to survive 7 torturous years as a POW in North Vietnam.

      When asked, “Who didn’t make it (out of the POW camp),” Stockdale replied,

      Oh that’s easy. The optimists. They were the ones who said, ‘we’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And then Christmas would come, and Christmas would go.

      And then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And then Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving. And then it would be Christmas again.

      And they died of a broken heart.

      “This is a very important lesson,” Stockdale continued. “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose– with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

  2. Iamafan says:

    Well my online friends, welcome to the depression. All bets are off.
    I have no idea where this is going.

    All I know is the Treasury will already issue $895 billion of Cash Management Bills (short term) in addition to the bills, notes, and bonds they were already planning to sell.

    I say scr*w the Fed and the large banks and just let the U.S. Treasury issue bills, notes, and bonds and fund the social programs through credit unions community banks directly. These are the local people who know what’s going on.

    • Except the Federal system is broke. A dollar represents a liability. Their policy is to spread the risk to save the global system, which is bloated and corrupt. I would rather the communities maintain banking standards; only lending money against deposits, and allow the spread to determine the interest rate.

      • Iamafan says:

        If the Treasury wants the money to be lent efficiently, there is no option but community banks and credit unions. Forget the primary dealers, they worthless fat cats.

        The Treasury can borrow and print whatever it wants. It has the best printing press.

      • jc says:

        Slash the defense budget already. The US has already lost control with preemptive wars and morally bankrupt politicians. Use the funny money to help the people til it all unwinds not the defense industry.

        • Stuart says:

          Excellent idea. Rent strikes and massive civil disobedience may hasten the day. Can’t go on like this. There is a depression on. Don’t expect the politicians to do the right thing. We must force their hand through actions on the street. Whose streets ? Our Streets.

      • A J says:

        The current ABC Act proposed will have the new social spending done without creating new debt, so it will have no bearing on the national debt. This is MMT, which has been mostly misdefined in the media. It was always designed to be paid directly out of the Treasury, with no bond attached. My understanding is that they are to mint two one trillion dollar platinum coins to fund it. Not sure what the current closure of the mints has on that plan. The crash has been deflationary in the extreme, and we can absorb quite a bit of new money creation before it becomes inflationary.

  3. FromKS says:

    Keep in mind the previous week had 4 working days due to Good Friday. Unemployment claims per business day are still maxed out.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Excellent point. That’s a holiday effect, not a rollover in the data.

  4. Marc says:

    The Federal numbers represent new claims processed, not filed. The unprocessed claims are not counted yet. This is why earlier reported numbers are being revised.

    Utah is three weeks behind in processing new claims. Oregon is close to four weeks behind. And no claims have been accepted for the self employed because states haven’t even set up their processes yet. The actual number of unemployed is much higher.

    • Max Power says:

      In Florida it is nearly impossible to file for unemployment as the state’s unemployment system a complete clusterf@#(

      • TXRancher says:

        It has been in the news that Texas is in the same mess.

        • AJ says:

          No system was designed for this kind of volume. Credit to the states that are trying to clear their backlog. Many states people cannot get through to even do the preliminary filing, so the true numbers are much higher. My son-in-law has not been able to get through to OR to file yet, and he’s been out of work since the beginning.

      • Shiloh1 says:


      • Bridgetown Beast says:

        They caught caught Rick Scott bragging about that… it’s a cluster [family blog] by design.

      • Denise says:

        In 2009 the federal government made available 7 Billion to states to modernize their computer systems and update the benefits their Unemployment Insurance program provided. Their were 12 states that declined to accept any money. Florida was one of those states.


        Rick Scott takes great pride in the strict policies that Florida enacted in 2010 and 2011. Florida has a two part system (online followed by phone) the legislation requires the unemployed to be looking for a job (5 interviews a week). The maximum benefit is $275/week. Claims look back at income earned beginning with Q3 2019 going back to 4Qtr 2018. He has no provisions for the self employed. (Single owner LLC or gig worker)

        Florida’s job numbers are no wear near the representative numbers of those that are unemployed. It looks like a Hurricane here with no debris.

    • p coyle says:

      “The actual number of unemployed is much higher.”

      i am shocked, shocked to find out gambling is going on here. oops, sorry, i hadn’t noticed it was the approved gambling. move along, nothing to see here…

  5. 2banana says:

    There is really only one answer.

    The most draconian states need to start easing up on the lockdown and start to get people back to work. Immediately.

    Or their economies are going to be long-termed destroyed.

    Bankrupted companies just don’t magically come back to life.

    City and state tax revenue is going to be crushed hard. Which means massive layoffs to the very same first responders who are now on the “front lines.”

    Food supply chains are already stretched to the limits with meat processing plants shutting and farmers dumping milk and rotting vegetables.

    “It looks like the tsunami of new layoffs is still huge but not quite as huge as it was a week ago, and it looks like states are making progress in catching up after the catastrophic first three weeks. Estimates that the total number of initial unemployment claims during the lockdown would reach a gut-wrenching 25+ million appear to have been on target and will likely be reached in a week or two…”

    • 91B20 1stCav says:

      2-where were you on the Public Health/ACA ‘Death Panel’ debate, and where are you on that now? Just asking.

      May we all find a better day.

      • Joe Saba says:

        since 5% of patients use over 1/2 resources
        I’m for limiting access – especially for elderly who see NO BENEFIT FROM REMOVING APPENDIX/hip surgery
        give them good meds to deal with it
        stop spending every last dime to keep people alive
        ever stop to think many patients feel same way

        • Portia says:

          you’ve been reading The Atlantic

        • Canadian says:

          Do the 5% who get excluded from the system also get to avoid paying into it?

          That’s the problem with “public health care” cons.

          They are sold in as “everyone gets guaranteed care.”

          Then as the system implodes and collapses over the years, the people who pay the highest taxes and keep it afloat while suffering stress related health effects — middle aged and older — get told they don’t deserve to access the “universal guaranteed coverage” they paid outrageous taxes for their entire lives.

          Basically, every public health system defaults when those who pay in come to collect in mid and late life. It is a total scam.

        • Counterpointer says:

          Bring back Carousel!

      • Stuart says:

        Socialized medicine now.

        • Canadian says:

          Socialized medicine is just another ponzi scheme that ends in default. The default is when you die waiting in line for rationed care (despite paying into the system), or get told you only get palliative care after age 70.

    • Portia says:

      I’m curious, 2banana. Are you an essential worker right now? Are you having to find ways to protect yourself from infection?

      • 2banana says:

        Sweden, among many other countries, never shut down nor destroyed their economy nor took away civil rights by decree.

        And have been fairing as good or better than the “you are all under house arrest” lockdown countries.

        They did impose some common sense health measures.

        And yes, I go out everyday and interact with people everyday as part of my job. With common sense health measures.

        • portia says:

          Sweden: 12,540 cases, 1333 dead
          Denmark: 6879 cases, 321 dead
          Norway: 6848 cases, 152 dead
          Finland: 3369 cases, 75 dead

          “And have been fairing as good or better ” really?
          These are recent numbers.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Don’t worry, 2banana is impervious to facts.

        • 2banana says:

          You do realize that Sweden has almost twice the population of Denmark, Finland or Norway?

          And that in any given year, the average death rate is about 90,000 with no coronavirus?

          And that Finland, besides government run facilities, never shut down?

          Normalize your numbers and try again.

        • No Expert says:

          Not true, Sweden population 10m – 1300 deaths, NZ pop 5m – 9 deaths.

        • Shawn says:

          That’s because Sweden has a far better healthcare system than we do. 33k deaths in the US, how embarrassing.

        • fajensen says:

          It is possible that Sweden has taken the same approach to Covid-19 as it did with the gang shootings, which was: This is not really a problem right up until someone gets whacked in “Trianglen, Malmö”, where Proper People go.

          THEN it suddenly became A Problem!

          Rumours are that the majority of the dead so far are from the ghettoes; people who live cramped, work on zero-hour contracts with no sick pay, with no PPE, and probably don’t watch Swedish state TV every day. And lots of Old People, looked after by zero-hour employees with no PPE & no testing available!

          When some Proper People overflow morgues and goes into refrigerated containers, THEN it becomes A Problem – only by that time, Covid-19 is happily curb-stomping Sweden.

          Notice how the quite strictly measured case-fatality-rate is already approaching Italy? 15% of the patients ill enough to 1) show up at hospitals and 2) be tested, seems to die!?

          After this pandemic is over, then nobody is going to trust any “common sense” and “Swedish authorities” again for at least 2 generations.

      • DR DOOK says:

        Portia: your comment reminded me of my grandfather’s standard response to me when I used the word “we”. His response would be ” do you have a mouse in your pocket”?.

      • DR DOOM says:

        Portia: your comment reminded me of my grandfather’s standard response to me when I used the word “we”. His response would be ” do you have a mouse in your pocket”?.

    • OutWest says:

      In my state (Washington), there was a tremendous sense of urgency when issuing the social distancing and stay at home orders – all of which I agree with. The belief was that every hour counted to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Well, those actions worked and our hospitals are no where near capacity right now.

      Notably, 45-50% of hospital and skilled nursing facility patients are short term residents so when elective procedures were banned, their bread and butter business dried up and the expected Surge of COVID patients never materialized.

      Our lockdown is scheduled to be lifted on May 4th but it will probably be kicked out into June. Just my hunch.

      I can’t help but notice that each and every decision maker is salaried, well off, proper folk with little to nothing on the line financially on a personal level. My point is that the sense of urgency appears to be gone when it comes to allowing workers who can return to work safely, pay taxes, and salvage their livelihoods is discussed. We could start allowing at least a few nonessential workers to return to work without seeing body bags start piling up in this state.

      • MCH says:

        “I can’t help but notice that each and every decision maker is salaried, well off, proper folk with little to nothing on the line financially on a personal level.”

        Well, it’s because those decision makers know better, they are backed up by the science. Haven’t you been listening? All of these decisions, as hard as they are, are scientifically driven. The science says, yes, you might end up homeless, but you’ll be homeless and alive. But there is a degree of uncertainty, and we’d rather err on the side of caution.

        So, there, these decision makers need to be salaried and continued to receive those salaries so that they can make scientifically driven decisions, or may be data driven, I get the two confused sometimes, but both are grounded in facts.

        Just like how the Earth was the center of the universe, and it was grounded in known scientific fact back 2000 years ago.

        • motorcycle guy says:

          great comment. :-)

        • OutWest says:

          I am not disagreeing with you but perhaps you could explain why Canadian’s in BC (a 90 mile drive north from here) are allowing some non essential workers such as construction workers, gardeners, ect. To work (as reported regularly on this board and in the media) as long as they social distance. It’s not an all or nothing situation is it? By the way, I am fully employed…I am advocating for those who in many cases work in positions that already social distance. If they can pull it off in Canada, why not in Washington State where this miss is somewhat under control?

        • MCH says:


          I can’t explain it. Because we have a elementary school behind our house that was closed down at the end of last school year. Yet, all through the week, there were city contractors working on the joint. While my neighbor who runs a yard cleaning business had to furlough his workers because of the essential order, and the same was true for another neighbor who is a contractor doing home construction, he is also on hold at this point because, Non-essential.

          Yet somehow, a closed down school has people working on it because our city government (California, mind you) has decided this was essential.

          I think this whole problem is a bit nuts.

          On the other hand, there is a report today that Gilead’s remdesivir appears to be showing some decent efficacy. Although as the “scientists” point out, there is a lack of a control group to do comparison, so it’s true effect is unknown.

          The “scientists” are absolutely correct, but go ahead and do a double blind study on something like this, and tell the family of the patients who died that it happened because, well, we gave them an intravenous injection of saline.


        • Frank says:

          It was not scientific fact, that the earth was the center of the universe 2000 years ago. In fact up to fairly recent times the earth was considered the center of the universe based on religious dogma.Not science.

        • MCH says:


          You are technically correct from a modern point of view. However, based on the “science” at the time, Earth at the center of the universe was correct for that period. (yes, it is grounded in religious dogma, but guess what, at that time, it was as good as science) Just as Newtonian physics was the ultimate truth up until Einstein blew it up.

          I remind you that scientific fact is only based on best observation that can be obtained at the time. So, what is considered science today, may very well be considered idiotic superstition or religious dogma in a century, or a millennia.

          After all, consider this, it is a known fact today that you cannot go faster than the speed of light. But how would this fact be viewed if centuries from now, if this was in fact proven to be untrue. Would it be fair that the same scientists of today be considered dogmatic and ignorant of the reality?

        • Ensign_Nemo says:

          Most of those ‘decision makers’ are lawyers and professional politicians, not scientists. They make decisions based upon the probability that they will win the next election, not a scientific formula. The virus crisis has temporarily forced them to deal with reality, in the short term.

          In the long term, those decision makers have created a system where the USA imports about 90% of its pharmaceuticals from India and China, the USA has suffered massive shortages of medical gear and virus tests because we don’t make all the stuff that we need, the USA needs the Federal Reserve to pump $2 trillion into the markets in a single month to prevent a meltdown, and the USA has been running $1 trillion deficits in the ‘good times’ and is looking at maybe a $3 or $4 trillion deficit in 2020.

          I’m not so sure that those ‘decision makers’ are actually ‘grounded in the facts’, unless their feet are held to the fire. Their ‘data driven’ conclusions are driving the USA over a cliff.

          And yes, I do get that you were being sarcastic with the reference to geocentrism, but it’s just aggravating to see our leaders use ‘science’ as a convenient scapegoat for hardships suffered in no small part from their bad decisions over the past two decades.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          MCH-with all due respect, honest scientific method is ALWAYS about questioning and experimenting to improve existing knowledge, and then conducting further questioning and experimenting of THAT knowledge to improve our understanding going forward. It NEVER (the planet and universe are so vast, and our current body of knowledge so small) reaches a point where it becomes, if I understand you correctly, a point of absolute certainty, and hence, akin to a religious pronouncement. That said, numerous blind alleys, or, regrettably, the occasional bad actor are always there, but the data-and this is important- eventually catches up with them. Einstein’s ‘blowing up’ of aspects of Newtonian physics did not place him at risk of death at the hand of the Inquisition as Galileo’s observations of the solar system did (Albert’s sparking a firestorm of controversy in the scientific community, sure, but that’s what happens in healthy scientific discussion as opposed to the often-censored-to-fatal results of religious heresy).

          I’m approaching elderly, having grown up and lived my life in the post-WWII era, one that has seen perhaps the greatest amount of future-shocking technological advance in the history of humanity, built on successive centuries of great scientific thought (often in the context of the arrival of amazing achievements without a concomitant examination of unforeseen circumstances). What I have observed, however, is that too many, perhaps a majority, of our fellow citizens now take the fruits of these advances as given and command-able, and, since these are so often beneficial, seem to conflate science and religion. When science doesn’t quickly, and with certitude, deliver an answer to an existing or discovered ill, the response appears too-often to throw the baby (‘science’) out with the bathwater (ills in a complex universe not being promptly extinguished by the perceived ‘god’ of science).

          Sorry for the rant, stay healthy, and-

          May we all find a better day.

      • p coyle says:

        “I can’t help but notice that each and every decision maker is salaried, well off, proper folk with little to nothing on the line financially on a personal level.”

        well, good for you. in ten more years you will finally figure out how you were signed up for, lack of a better term, the “getting the business.”

        it’s an old football reference if you need a hint.

    • MC01 says:

      I am saying this as one of the most vehement “back to normal” types out there: adelante, Pedro, con juicio.

    • Bridgetown Beast says:

      Or… OR… we could take steps to freeze the servicing of private debt, bail out private citizens and guarantee them healthcare, and set up lines of cheap credit for small private employers when things limber back up in the economy… with stringent watchdog measures set up to penalize large companies acting in bad faith. We could also ban share buybacks, place limitations on dividend payouts unless employees are receiving a living wage and companies have backup funds for when this occurs again, and we could stop the offshoring of industry that put us in this position in the first place.

      The solution you advocate is to put people in harm’s way to prop up a system that is clearly fragile and broken. We don’t need a return to normal, we need to tear out this defunct broken system root and stem and establish a system that both encourages innovation and still provides for the least of us.

      • farmboy says:

        Bridgetown Beast There is little need for all that complexity. A Monthly UBI of $2000 for every American citizen would be the best solution. And those that are wealthy are likely to pay it all back in taxes anyway. Or start a VAT on Non-essential goods to slow down inflation while keeping everyone fed and housed.

    • Jdog says:

      You do not seem to understand that when the lock down is lifted, and people return to work, their work will not have returned.
      China is now almost a month into their return to work, and everything is dead. No one is buying anything. And this is a manufacturing based economy that is making essentials. Our economy is service based and is basically all non essential.
      In addition, if we do this prematurely, and a second wave of this virus springs up, then we are back at step one, and maybe worse.
      Sending everyone back to work is not a panacea, and could in fact if done to soon be disaster. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking things can’t get worse.

  6. Icanwalk says:

    Wolf- how are people who file claims but are denied figure in to these numbers? Does EDD state the number of denied claims anywhere?

  7. NewGuy says:

    Not related exactly but, make sure you check “IRS dot gov” and put your bank info in there to get the $1200 or whatever is coming your way. I did my 2019 tax already and got a refund directly to my checking account, but after checking them yesterday, they said they didn’t have my bank info anymore. Might save you all some headaches.

    • Portia says:

      I have heard reports of money sent to the wrong accts with no recourse, except to wait for a paper check. Also, people seeing 8 million in their accts temporarily. Sounds like another “pallets of cash going missing” kind of thing. I have no clue if I will ever receive a check.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Portia-I think you will, but it will have a large, and unnecessary, additional signature on it.

        Again, may we find a better day.

        • Portia says:

          thanks, I hope your optimism pays off!

        • Shiloh1 says:

          I have been known to deface Federal Reserve Notes by marking various Secretaries of Treasury as “crooks”, including Geithner and Mnuchin. I think Paul O’Neil called bullish/t on the whole thing during his brief tenure, so he’s ok, but most of those are out of circulation.

        • BaritoneWoman says:

          So WTF? Once I get my paper check, I’ll make a color copy of it, frame the copy and label it “Bribery Check”. For posterity.

      • Jdog says:

        Those 8 million checks are typos on account numbers, they were meant for the Congress members accounts……

    • Deanna Johnston Clark says:

      This may help somebody.
      We had working income of $1200 a month…and Social Security which was not taxed. H&R Block told me we didn’t need to file a return as long as things were the same, so we didn’t for 4 years.
      Then 2 weeks ago I assumed it was necessary for the IRS help and filed online. A few days later we received a mysterious $707.00 from Social Security. I banked it in case it needed returning due to a mistake.

      Having to ask a question about medicare, I called the number and a very sweet lady helped me, then checked the SS amount. We were being given Supplemental Income…which was nice because my husband may have to quit his part time work due to blindness.
      Most here are not in our lifestyle, but you may know someone who is. The tax filing seemed to have jostled something loose in the Social Security dept.

    • sierra7 says:

      No. Never if you can avoid it give any banking info to the IRS…all in the words of “convenience”.
      If ever problems in the future of disputed monetary obligations to the gov the IRS will have instant ability to cut off your own funds.
      It will happen.
      Take the few days it takes to use snail mail for any gov monies coming. SS is the exception. Private industry pensions also exception.
      Never the IRS!

  8. Wisdom Seeker says:

    And the second wave of layoffs hasn’t hit yet. Firms whose revenues come from advertising and other “discretionary” business spending are about to see dramatic revenue shortfalls. The ad-based tech titans (GOOG etc.) will be under greater pressure to monetize their massive social databases by other means. Not good for privacy rights.

    • joe says:

      Signs are appearing that the business model for the on-line “social information” managers is changing. In addition to advertising for corporations and selling personal information, paid advocacy for nation states, NGOs and extra-governmental organizations seems on the horizon.

      Something to watch for.

      • Ensign_Nemo says:

        During January, February, and early March, any mention of the word ‘coronavirus’ on YouTube was detected by algorithms that scanned the audio for that word, and then automatically demonetized the video.

        It was so ridiculous that computer hardware channels discussing the shutdowns of factories making computer parts started to call it ‘human malware’ to circumvent the algorithm.

        YouTube also was placing links to the World Health Organization under videos that mentioned coronavirus, as a big hint that only the WHO should be considered correct, not everyday people discussing a global pandemic. This is the same WHO that Trump wants to ‘demonetize’, i.e. stop the from US funding it, because it was spreading wrong information.

        It’s almost certain that this caused some people to remain silent when they should have been raising alarms about the oncoming plague. I wonder how many lives could have been saved if we had truly free speech in this country, without the economic ‘soft censorship’ imposed by YouTube.

        The fact that Google / YouTube have perfected algos that can silence or demonetize anybody who says a *single word* that they don’t like speaks volumes about their ability and willingness to muzzle free speech.

    • Tim says:

      Yup. Good point.

    • c_heale says:

      Google is now charging big customers for use of its capture software. So cloudflare has created its own software hCaptcha.

    • MCH says:

      Oddly, I feel not at all bad for the ad based tech titans like FB and GOOGL… cause if any employees can afford to be “furloughed,” it’s these guys. I mean, give me a break, how essential are frigging ads, which is their basic business model.

      If there is any group (and I don’t mean the poor contractors who work at those companies and don’t get benefits) who I couldn’t care less about, it’s the whiners at those “high tech” companies, screw em, if they’re laid off, they have enough cash to survive.

      Just watch them turn themselves into Palantir, and see how many of those same tech workers complain….

  9. Unamused says:

    Now for the bad news.

    The US economy was never going to recover regardless of the outcome of the pandemic because transnational corporations will capture any and all gains, leaving most of the country looking like Haiti. The equity markets feel they don’t need the Real Economy because the Fed can just print up money in any preferred quantity, but they’ll regret it eventually. Financial markets can’t live on fiat alone.

    The gods of capital are demanding human sacrifices, and they’re going to get them. In the US, the problem with the pandemic is ultimately political, and not medical. Things were going badly anyway because the national health infrastructure was crippled in advance, but by forcing the reopening of the US economy prematurely he’ll guarantee the pandemic in the US will be impossible to contain, mitigate, and therefore useless to try to treat. So you can expect to back to the original projections in due course, where up to 80% of the population will be infected and ten or twenty million will die. Collateral damage.

    As predicted, he will burn down the country so he can rule over the ashes.

    In the US, the survivors will end up as serfs and slaves. Remarkably, half the electorate supports this result.

    My expectation is that the experience with proposed cures and treatments for SARS-CoV-2 will be very much the same as for SARS and MERS, which are closely related. Combinations of quinine, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and several other quinine derivatives used in combination with zinc, other metals, and every known antiviral have been shown to be ineffective in treating SARS and MERs.

    No vaccine has been developed, and no medicinal treatment has been discovered, for SARS or MERS, after 18 years of research. It therefore seems reasonable to expect that no vaccine or medicinal treatment will emerge for SARS-CoV-2 either. Both SARS or MERS were eventually brought under control using preventative public health approaches of the type now in place, which suggests a similar outcome for SARS-CoV-2.

    I could be wrong. But I doubt it.

    I look at this site. The site itself is all about reporting on the abuses of capitalism, huge abuses, very destructive. Rather than learn from those mistakes and repudiate them, half the commenters seem only interested in how they can profit from the misery of others, never mind cleaning up the messes, and never see themselves as contributing to the problem. Very disappointing. What part of ‘unsustainable’ don’t they understand? Any of it? Isn’t life already sufficiently nasty, brutish, and short, without having to make it even vicious?

    Such persons do not see the value of cooperation but see the world as a collection of ‘us versus them’ situations where they can’t win unless somebody else loses. And yet, Darwin noted that examples of the value of cooperation far outnumber all others. It’s why there are multicellular organisms. It’s why there are herds, and forests, and fish shoals, and ant colonies, and morals, where each benefits by contributing to the common good. Even predators share. But they don’t see it that way.

    I noticed an article on OilPrice.com about America’s ‘energy domination’, as a goal, in contrast to most of the other content, which seems devoted to finding some cooperation between the major producers so they can save themselves. Hard to achieve, because they’re all really only out to gain some advantage over the others.

    I can explain it for them, but I cannot understand it for them. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it is the way people make it. I refuse to be a part of it, and will find a different way, and find my consolations elsewhere.

    With them the seeds of wisdom did I sow,
    And with my own hand laboured it to grow.
    And this was all the harvest that I reaped –
    I came like water, and like wind I go.

    • Portia says:

      It’s those addicted to gambling, I always thought. Moral hazard? Nope.

      • Jdog says:

        Actually it is moral hazard.
        The problem is that we have become such an uneducated society we do not understand morals anymore.
        Morality has little to do with religious rules, and everything to do with rules of physics, nature, and mathematics that dictate cause and effect. People developed morals not because some god told them to, but by centuries of experience of what actions causes failure and misery. You can make a direct correlation between a countries morals, and their standard of living. Third world countries are in the state they are in because their cultures are so corrupt it inhibits business and development as a result.
        The suffering we are going to experience going forward is due to sheer stupidity, and of allowing our animal instincts to rule over our ability to reason.
        As Darwinism dictates, the strong will survive, and the stupid and weak will not.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          JDog +100!

          Except in Darwin world it’s not just strength that leads to survival, but intelligence and leadership – the ability, via moral methods, to persuade others to cooperate intelligently as well.

        • Portia says:

          Sorry, forgot the /s. If they were held to Moral Hazard limits, their little playground would go poof. But now, if you look at Forbes’ “There’s No Moral Hazard In Saving The Economy From The Coronavirus,” the argument is that you have to save everyone with out judging who is corrupt or at fault. Except they don’t take into account that the barely together, stripped bare state of society is how we are in such a dire state to begin with. The people who set up this catastrophe sure do not think they are stupid, they think they are the smartest, cleverest ones. Direct relief to the employees and basic businesses is the most equitable course, but the “clever” people see that as going down the road to not having desperate people who will take anything. This is their idea of a breakdown of society. You can not argue with them. Boccacio is a good read on this situation, The Decameron.

        • Portia says:

          Oh, and I just thought of that great scene in Scrooged where Frank fires Eliot Loudermilk, and Alfre Woodard says, “But it’s CHRISTMAS!” and Frank says, “THANK YOU! Stop his bonus!”

          There has been no come to Jesus moment in our movie, though :(

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Good Start dog,
          but other than the now fairly commonly accepted fact that there was total confusion when the letters of the best mammalian species, dog, was reversed, to the eventual and continuing dismay of all, with or without any knowledge of that fact,, the real and usually very well concealed fact is that ”Darwinism” dictates nothing other than we human and other species should just be trying to pay attention.
          Other than that, in the most recent and thorough investigation and reports based on the ‘theories’ Charles Darwin ”suggested,” it seems very clear at this time that ”adaptability” is the trait most likely to ensure continuation of each and every species. Anything else, just more propaganda/BS/control effort.

        • fajensen says:

          As Darwinism dictates, the strong will survive, and the stupid and weak will not.

          “Lucky” beats “Strong” anytime (and what does “Strong” & “Weak” and “Stupid” even mean in terms of evolution?).

          *Everything* that lives has already reached its evolutionary perfection for its current environment!

    • David G LA says:


      Great post, spot on, except I disagree with your claim that “most commenters here want to profit”

      I would say most commenters here:

      + are shocked at the abuses of central banks and corporations

      + are attempting to figure out how to survive casino capitalism

      + are sharing strategies on how not to let the system dupe one

      + are sharing real time facts on the ground – since most agree the numbers published by the government and media are often misleading or missing context

      • David G LA says:

        Correction I misquoted you – “half”

      • DR DOOM says:

        David G LA : I have not been very eloquent in my my past comments. I would sum them up as “burn this bitch down.”

      • Counterpointer says:

        Sounds about right. And includes internationals like me. What on earth is going on in Griftopia and how can we who are inextricably linked to this sh!tshow survive it?

    • Portia says:

      I agree, refusing to participate is the way to go. The Big Parasite is having a feeding frenzy right now, and it thrives on pushback.

    • 91B20 1stCav says:

      Una-thank you. Great civilizations rise from general cooperation. I’ve always felt the wheel of history turns to crush a great civilization when it reaches a certain level of wealth, power, historo-cultural amnesia and a level of technological advancement that literally/virtually places machine guns in the hands of mental children and barbarians. I have always enjoyed your sagacity, as truthfully bleak as it often is. Stay well and look forward, we both know we can’t go back.

      O, brave new world.

      May we all find a better one.

    • Lisa says:

      “Rather than learn from those mistakes and repudiate them, half the commenters seem only interested in how they can profit from the misery of others, never mind cleaning up the messes, and never see themselves as contributing to the problem. Very disappointing.”

      People love to pontificate, but what makes you a non-contributer? Did you have kids? Because this this world has been decadent corrupt and vastly overpopulated for many decades now. Yet people, being the self absorbed creatures they are, continue to complain while they mindlessly add to the problem.

      • 91B20 1stCav says:

        Lisa-good call on population (for the record, I consciously never fathered children, did help raise my ex’s). Should have added “…and an overpopulation that exceeds the ability of its existing technology and natural environment to successfully sustain it…”.

        A better day to all, got more pre-fire season mowing to do.

    • Brant Lee says:

      These are the times when the true faces of all humanity appear. From these times you should choose your friends.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        VERY GOOD Brant,, and thus it was and thus it is and thus it will be, or, possibly, bee.
        Time and enough for all of us still kicking today, tomorrow and henceforth to choose widely and wisely our friends, first and foremost, and those of our families wide and close… To help, share, and work with to the mutual benefit of all close and concerned.
        And I will add that, So Far, this website of the Wolf guy is the best source of actual and factual and thorough and understandable information about the basis and ongoing challenges of the financial and economy situation we the people find ourselves in.
        I ask only that you too do your best to report your local situation here, as well as any commentary/opinions you come up with based on your ”boots on the ground” local experiences, as many very well informed folks do here.
        Thank you.

      • Philip Frank says:

        Brant Lee
        Thank you!

    • Deanna Johnston Clark says:

      I’ve been here awhile and I don’t see this site your way. Many of the comments are from heads of families who want very much to protect them. They see this as a financial site, not one about religion, morals, philosophy, or accusation.
      There are plenty of those already.
      Wolf does a good job of explaining what like for working family people are up against.
      This is a time of serious research into boosting the immune system and health. Many are spending time with their children they haven’t in years…also pets and online relatives. Many are seriously questioning the whole death certificate scamming for govt. money….lots of positive things are happening in personal reassessment of priorities.
      This screed against people you don’t know except from comments about finance reflects only on yourself…

    • Ed C says:

      Unamused — “As predicted, he will burn down the country so he can rule over the ashes.”

      Really? I think TDS is a more widespread affliction than the Wu Flu will ever be and you’ve got a terminal case of it.

      Yeah things are bad and will get worse before they get better. Extreme political bias bordering on insanity won’t fix the problem but hey, have a nice day.

    • economicator says:

      Good comment!
      Agree with you on every point.

    • Memento mori says:

      You got it all wrong, I don’t think readers here want to profit from others misery unless we have some Wall Street psychopaths among us.
      I am a saver since 2009, my money has been in cash being devalued at will by the Fed ever-since.
      I own my house for 20 years now, don’t have debt and have savings. I work hard, pay my taxes and don’t buy things I can’t afford , I play by the rules and try to save for a rainy day.
      I remember the time when I was running to open accounts during GFC to make sure my cash was not above the FDIC limit.
      I simply don’t want that to happen again, and I don’t want to be forced into investment because of the financial repression that has been perpetrated on the savers by the Fed for the last 10 years.
      There is a difference between cooperation and acquiescing to the extreme corruption we have currently when irresponsible wealthy investors are being bailed out with taxpayer money.
      Hedge funds are lining up to collect small business loans for crying out loud, this is beyond obscene.

    • Shiloh1 says:

      The only way “20 million will die” will be if key operators of sime nuke plants shelter in place at home and a meltdown occurs.

    • caticorn says:

      Thank you Unamused,

      Glad to know there’s at least someone who understands. I got furloughed in mid March in the great disaster state of Florida..needless to say, it’s been a nightmare. Yet, whatever happens, all I have and really, all anyone has is his/her values.

    • Jdog says:

      Actually it was just a coincidence that the virus broke out in a market a few miles from where a lab was working on that exact virus……
      Just a coincidence. Even is the odds are a million to one, it is just a coincidence. Nothing to see here. Move along….

    • Happy1 says:


      “10 or 20 million people will die” in the US

      This is a made up number. The worst case epidemiologic projection is about 10th this number. More likely scenario is 1/50th. Or 1/100th. If you posted such inaccurate numbers for financial information here you would rightly be shunned.

      “national health infrastructure was crippled in advance”

      Also garbage and objectively proven false by mortality rate data. Mortality rates here are a fraction of those in most of Europe because the US has more ICU capacity per capita than any country on earth with the exception of Germany, and ICU capacity is the most important medical system factor for acute survival in this pandemic by a large margin. Accordingly, Germany has had an exceptionally low death rate thus far, and is opening it’s economy in the next week. With the exception of NYC for 4 or 5 days, and New Orleans for a week, ICU capacity hasn’t been an issue here at all. ICU capacity in Italy, France, and England is the main reason death rates there are multiples of the US. And death rates in most of Europe are vastly understated, they are just starting to add unaccounted nursing home and home deaths in France and Spain, and this hasn’t happened at all in Italy, real death tolls in those countries are likely twice as high as stated, several multiples of the death rate in the US. You and others bemoaned the lack of universal health care here, while universal health care in most of Europe has performed worse in mortality per capita. This is because those “universal health systems” constrain ICU access to save money, so they are universally crappy for acute respiratory care. They didn’t have capacity for the first wave of the pandemic.

      The US was disastrously late with testing for several weeks early in the pandemic. But starting in late March, capacity from mostly private testing sources has exceeded that in almost every country in the world on a per capita daily testing basis daily, including South Korea and Japan, trailing only Italy and Russia, among larger nations (Iceland is an exception, an island with fewer than a million people). Remember testing is not a panacea and the only sizable countries that have been able to maintain a testing and tracing regimen are Taiwan and South Korea. Singapore and Japan are no longer in that category. So the US was critically behind to start, a clear failure of national political leadership, but within weeks is better than almost all of the rest of the world, because of private enterprise, in spite of poor political leadership.

      The parameters that will dictate long term outcomes in this pandemic are ICU capacity, social cohesion and respect for authority, testing capacity, and population density. There will eventually be effective vaccines or drugs, although it may be years. The US does quite well in some of these parameters, and not well in others, but the medical infrastructure parts are not where we will have difficulty.

      Many of the countries you and others point to as examples early in the pandemic, including Singapore and Japan, monoethnic cultures with Confucian respect for authority and experience with SARS, are having a second wave of infection, because lockdowns and tracing are not sufficient and cannot be sufficient for this pandemic. They are also far more population dense. I would not wager where will be better overall in 2 years, too many variables. But a less crowded location sure feels safer to me personally regardless of other factors.

      You suggest that national political leadership will have us prematurely open for business. That opening will be dictated by governors. So far, local political leaders of various parties have pursued various approaches, with no clear policy dictating major differences, with the exception of the Bay Area lockdown which has been a clear success to date. NYC is most crowded and has the largest outbreak. New Orleans unwisely held Mardi Gras. People in Detroit don’t trust authority. I think those three factors sum up the parts of the country that have problems. They all have democratic government locally, but that hasn’t been a determining factor. No nation can indefinitely shelter in place as we are now. Parts of Europe are already beginning to unlock, even Italy is moving in this direction. Japan is now in a more locked down phase. Everyone will need to figure this out. I don’t think national political leadership will be a determining factor. Eventually we will open for business and there will be a continuing low level degree of virus in our communities. Why would this be any different than Europe or Asia? You are blinding yourself with your own political bias.

      Lastly, I agree with you that eventually, it is likely that a large percentage of the population of all countries will be exposed to this virus. Death rates will be higher on a per capita basis for those countries who lose control because they don’t socially isolate, or who lack ICU capacity, or a combination of both. Countries with older population will be worse off. We haven’t done as well as most of Asia to date, but have done far better than most of Europe. No one knows how this will play in the long run. But 20 million deaths in the US is almost a mathematical impossibility.

  10. timbers says:

    No worries. As soon as some random town population 400 joins North Dakota in ending lockdown, Mr Market will zoom to the moon past 30k.

    • Dan Romig says:

      Most of my friends in North Dakota are probably driving their tractor and planting wheat, soybeans, sugar beets, canola, sunflowers or barley. Corn and potatoes next week – weather permitting.

      • Conan Dillon says:

        I grew up in Faribault. My Dad has a condo in Minneapolis and Palm Springs, California.

  11. Yancey Ward says:

    Wisdom Seeker is correct- this is just the first wave of unemployment- directly from the businesses shut down by government decree. The second wave is those in “essential” work that can’t be paid because of the business lost from the 1st wave of unemployed. If the shut doesn’t end on May 1st, we will have 50% unemployed or more by July. At that level, society breaks down.

    • Jdog says:

      And magic unicorns will fly out of our butts and grant us all three wishes and we will all live happily ever after…..

  12. Crush the Peasants! says:

    Your health is your biggest asset. During the last meltdown, suicides spiked. Keep exercising, and do what it takes to keep your mental state of well being.

    The UE trend cannot be good for the RE market. If you are UE or facing UE, and are a homeowner:

    1. You have a mortgage and home equity, and have sufficient savings. Live off savings, and wait it out? Or sell now and harvest equity?

    2. You have a mortgage, are UE, have home equity, and have insufficient savings to live off of. Sell now?

    3. You have a mortgage, little to no equity. Milk no mortgage payments for as long as possible and then walk away?

    Home equity loan is of course an option if you can get one.

    These WILL be on the final, so study up.

    • Frederick says:

      Sell now and harvest equity? The housing market is dead as a door nail right now so that might be problematic

      • Weary Patience says:

        My neighbor works in the oil business (offshore, not shale) and was talking about possibly buying a home and selling his – which isn’t currently mortgage free; will be interesting to see if it goes through on both sides. I reminded him unemployment is going up and lenders are tightening the belts a bit.

    • SocalJim says:

      Easy. In case 1), 2), or 3), rent the property out then rent something on the cheap and wait this out. That is the only smart move. Just pick your tenants carefully … I always look for a tenant where their is money in the family.

  13. Portia says:

    Brad Reed, Twitter: “TMZ reports that [Tony] Spell has started a campaign called “#PastorSpellStimulusChallenge” in which followers are encouraged to send money they’ve received from the government as part of the federal stimulus package to evangelists and missionaries.

    Spell claims that he and his wife are both donating their personal checks to churches in need instead of using it to pay for food, although he did not initially offer proof of doing so.

    Spell also told his followers not to be afraid of dying from the virus, and even said that “death is a welcomed friend” for true believers.”

    Another inept parasite. Although he did ask for the cash before sending them to heaven. And I hear these guys are trying to get stimulus money directly from the govt, so, double dipping.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      These people are truly scum of the earth, among a sea of crooks and scumbags, these people sure do know how to stand out from the rest.

    • Jdog says:

      Unfortunately , during hard times, grifters come out of the woodwork. You will see more scams and con artists going forward than you will believe.
      They will prey on the stupid and the vulnerable. They are the vultures of the human race..

      • Portia says:

        Oh, these people have been around since forever, just read Mark Twain. I had to try to convince my Mother 25 years ago not to send her SS money to these groaty TV jerks. She had no concept of the lives they lived offscreen. The thing that gripes me is the harder times get, the groatier these piles of slime get.

        • Island Teal says:

          Have not heard that word for many moons
          Very nice

      • Tony says:

        Remember “Pastor” Gary North and his Y2K scams? I do.
        p.s. Pasta, if stored in cool dark dry places lasts for decades. We had some last night from 1999. It was fine. The secret is to make a great sauce.

    • Deanna Johnston Clark says:

      He did everything but threaten people with extra years in purgatory if not eternal damnation….
      Whew, is he in trouble with YouKnowWho….

      • fajensen says:

        I think sometimes God watches over us in the same way that we watch “Fail videos” and “Asian/Russian driving” on youtube!

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          fa-sublime! I’m pleasantly exhausted from laughter. Many thanks.

          And a better day to all.

  14. Stephen says:

    A lot of this nonsense is because the ‘leaders’ (and I use this term with extreme caution) have no skin in the unemployment game. The vast majority of federal workers (FTEs) will not be effected. They will receive full paychecks and benefits and most state workers will receive full paychecks and benefits. Also, most high end white collar workers are not effected – Yet!

    It seems to me that it’s important to get some ‘skin in the game’ for the state governments that insist on lockdowns. May I suggest the following partial list:

    –All Governors who order ‘lockdowns’ will immediately give up all their pay and benefits for the duration of the state lockdown
    –State governments will be not be allowed to issue pay increases or bonuses to state workers during the lockdown
    –All home foreclosures/forfeitures and rental evictions will be suspended for the unemployed in the states with lockdowns (until the lockdown ends)
    –States with lockdowns with have to pay for the health insurance benefits of employees who were unemployed during the state lockdown

    This is just a partial list, but you get the gist. I hate to see self serving bureaucrats throw people out of work while they suffer no consequences. Truth be told, there should never be a lockdown as it violates the constitution, but if state and local bureaucrats insist on throwing people out of work, then they need to share the pain. Btw, using the ‘share the pain approach,’ I doubt states will go into lockdown mode as the Governors will not want to deal with the consequences.

    • sierra7 says:

      Unfair comparison to throw the rank and file gov workers under the bus with the “biased” outright corrupt politicians.
      They toil just like most ordinary folk.

  15. Joe says:

    In that second wave would be all these non-profit organizations that are huge in number.
    Last wave would be government workers.
    Mind you some municipalities are already laying off some government paid workers.

    • Vagobond says:

      Hawaii dropping government worker pay by 20% including teachers struggling to make online classes work and first responders. As if it isn’t already hard enough for working people to survive the high cost of living in Hawaii – which will be getting higher very soon, no doubt.

  16. A lot of people are working from home. The problem is not as bad as it looks, ex hospitality. People in the trades are taking risks in order to keep working. A young construction worker thinks I could lick this thing. Once the dust settles the unemployment numbers will make it look more like a recession. We can always deal with a crisis, but a recession?

  17. MaryR says:

    Down here in So Florida I have a hairdresser friend who doesn’t qualify for regular UE as a “self employed contractor” luckily her partner is still working but they are terrified as their rent is very high in Palm Beach County and they both have car payments. She works in a low cost hair place where a basic cut is a mere $10, so perhaps a $2 tip if she’s lucky.

    Florida is desperately trying to catch up with regular UE let alone the Federal supplemental UE payments. No one knows what’s happening with the Federal money. We don’t actually have a valid count of the first wave of unemployment in Florida.

    Lots of grim looking people in the grocery stores and many have yet to see a stimulus payment. Food banks are giving out way more food overall but less per family unit, due to high demand.

    I am praying for all these folks and that their needs will be met. If this goes on to July many more may end up homeless and hungry; if so, I expect crime to rise particularly toward people as they walk out of stores with food and supplies. I pray that our leaders will make the right decisions and that things quickly get better for all Americans.

  18. chloe says:

    Wolf, looking forward to your next report on the real estate market…

  19. Mike says:

    I’m conservative and hate the idea off giving away free money like food stamps, hotel rooms, and cash for those not willing to work. Trust me I’ve seen the abuse with my own eyes just down the road from where I work in MA as the drug dealers and whores got free hotel accommodation to work their trade using my state taxes.

    However, I support the idea of a federally funded universal benefit income to everyone over 18yo in the US, basically it would be a social security payment using the SSA as they already have the infrastructure to support UBI payments. So how do you fund it? You fund it through higher income taxes. For those of us working and being taxed the UBI is your own tax being refunded back every two weeks.

    But with the UBI you scrap all other support programs like food stamps etc. and save on all the overhead of these other bloated federal and state departments.

    With a UBI you always know that you have a minimum income for disasters like we have today.

    • Deanna Johnston Clark says:

      Walmart, Krogers, &Co will just hate that idea of scrapping EBT cards….THEY are the welfare recipients…and CocaCola and Lay’s and General Mills and…
      EBT cards are the company script so that non coms in the military and Walmart “associates” and others don’t get any ideas like saving their money.
      Supporting the broke and lazy seems to be much preferred by western governments, who have disdained the working poor and agricultural labor for centuries. Perhaps you or Wolf here could explain why that is.

      • lenert says:


        Wait till Mike finds out how much big bank CEOs make from administering these EBT programs.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Deanna, to explain my opinion as to ”why that is,”
        Long ago, in a world far far away from here and now, I was totally blind for a while, a while when my wife, who was earning a lot more than I before the birth of our first, declared she would never work outside the home again,,, so, We went on all the available support programs,,,
        The actual foremost beneficiaries of those programs, in every state of the far west at least, was those folks who were operating those systems: Most were at least middle class, many were of the ”upper middle class” of the time. AS actual recipients of the guv mint benefits, we were never allowed to ”RISE” from our circumstances, lest we would become ineligible for benefits, and, thus, harm the administrators whose ”numbers” depended on us staying in our place.
        If this is not crystal clear in the literature describing the degradation of the working classes of USA because of these alleged support facilities, that is only to emphasize the real shame of the so called ”forth estate,” who have failed in their commonly and correctly identified role as truth seekers and truth keepers of USA and the rest of the world.

      • Shiloh1 says:

        I recall Mead Johnson, mfg of baby formula, stating in their 10-K that gov pulling EBT was a risk factor.

    • Frank Miller says:

      I understand. Feel the same way. Glad you made this point. It has to be fair. l believe we need a social contact and capitalism. That is messy. But way better than the other two extremes. Also, universal income is not a binary issue; ie a yes or no to universal income. Rather it has to be back up with things like: a) Tax compliance. The nordic countries, or the like, rely on honesty and citizen beliefs in fairness, for tax compliance. In some countries tax compliance is a game. So some countries will need serious penalties for double dipping into the black market economy or off book employment or tax haven use, while collecting on public paid support. Imagine what an economic embargo would do to tax havens to compel reporting? (These place all rely on food, water, fuel, material, staffing, from western countries). IRA can assess taxes of the non-reporting, when cross referenced to drivers licenses or car ownership, or property titles. Onerous but how else do you make paying taxes fair if people prefer to game the system? So we all should loose benefits of collective approach because of a few sociopaths? b) serious penalties for failure to pay fair share of taxes; you work or do business in a country you pay fair taxes or else, c) employer reporting on failure to accept employment. Combined with fair employment practices. Why are there people working yet wages are so low they need social assistance to survive -that is public paid corporate subsidy., d) bring the jobs back! Why are we sending millions of jobs to other countries? This cuts tax revenues. Adds to our social costs. Been no material change in consumer prices anyways. Largest reason for globalization (labour arbitrage) is corporate tax evasion. A national preference is also a national security issue (top 10 drugs are made by economic competitor China; top economic competitor is stealing technology and then upgrading for competitive advantage; imported consumer products are inferior and costing consumers in repeat replacement of this crap which steals money from other sectors), e) government focused on public interest that is accountable, consequenced, qualified, efficient (don’t mean layoffs, or service cuts, l mean delivering public services measured in % of GDP, or $per, country ranking, and compared to other areas or countries), f) essential services role for government in health care, education, defense, admin, social contracts, etc. Done with transparency and consequences. Just like how we do our jobs. g) add training opportunities. If we “AI” jobs, so corporations become more efficient and make more profits, but govt get that as a social cost, so then those workers need help, not handout, help to transition to be productive again, so they pay taxes again, and corporations need to pay their fair share of taxes to fund these transitions, and paid like property taxes too (not % of profits which is manipulated) as their share of the cost to run this place. h) Work cooperatively with countries. Win-Win. Respect has to be earned. Then, take a look at what Germany does with appreciate program (educational system that supports liberal arts and economy). Take a look at Finland for education (low cost, one of the best in the world). Take a look at best country for health care for cost and outcomes. i) get American healthy and educated. We can’t compete otherwise. j) we need a serious look and consensus at sustainability. This is about our survival. k) like on this site, encourage and promote rational discussions based on facts, reasoning, civil dialogue. Discourage the typical blustering opinionated frothing BS. Expect more. Demand more. Especially from politicians.

      A lot to fix. But what else is there to do? Carry on with this dis functionalism; until we have irrational blow-back?.

      Thanks for facilitating a discussion.

      • fajensen says:

        Totally Agree!

        Nice to see that real conservatives, the kind that believes it is good and proper to ‘conserve’ / ‘protect’ nice things like lives, environment, civil society, and property still exists in the world!

        What we have now is an extremely dysfunctional situation where “The Left” are full-on identitarian loons, “The Right” are all “smash-and-grab business people”, authoritarians and/or religious nutters. The click-baiting media is egging them all on with no space for reason, everything must be cast as absolute choices between only two mutually exclusive ‘alternatives’ or it isn’t ‘news’ or ‘debate’.

      • sierra7 says:

        Frank Miller:
        Capitalism promotes cheating.
        It is in the nature of the “beast”.
        “It” cannot help itself!
        “Crony-Capitalism” is the worst of the worst.
        We are there.
        There is no turning back until it disintegrates from self-indulgence and fear of exposure and retribution.
        “What is to be done?” (The modern dilemma)

  20. David Hall says:

    Disney wants to lay-off 43,000 workers by the end of the month.

    Retail real estate was overbought before the pandemic.

    Companies borrowed money to buy back shares. They should have been paying down debt.

    “Better to go to bed hungry than to rise in debt.”
    Benjamin Franklin

  21. Paulo says:

    We actually have a fair amount of people working in BC, mostly due to the fact that the rate of new infection has been plateaued for over a week. However, despite the optimistic health trend the health emergency is extended and folks are expecting restrictions and accepting restrictions until a vaccine is widely available. I was just working outside and heard a road building blast, logging is ongoing, mechanics are mostly working and folks I know in construction are working provided they maintain social distancing on the job. I just passed a major road construction project only yesterday that resumed work after winter shutdown. My son is working in the Oil Sands and should be fine. My 22 year old apprentice nephew has been recalled to work this coming Monday in Victoria housing.

    Yesterday, I saw numerous tanker trucks hauling live smolts for the the fish farming industry. They will be transported by boat to pen sites for rearing. The social distancing for the companies has been an expensive headache, but they still produce 10X what the BC fishing industry does.

    What is suffering here? All tourism and restaurant trade. Personal services. Pubs are not allowed to open. No sports. Transit is losing money beyond belief and RE properties have been pulled off the market. We had our taxes done as usual by dropbox and e-filing. I’ve purchased auto insurance by email and phone. I nervously went to a Costco yesterday and saw no shortages. They have the drill down and people keep their distance.

    I was sickened when I saw the Michigan protests, yesterday. The sooner the virus is contained the sooner we can go back to work. All of us.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Here’s how the difference between “virus pause” and “recession” plays out –
      The Oil Sands producers will curtail production – the market price of their product. is way down, and oil is glutted globally.

      The Victoria housing construction will likely slow down – will be fewer buyers. Those without jobs aren’t shopping, and many will consolidate households to reduce costs or provide/receive family support.

      Fish farming ought to continue ok – people need to eat – but with food “waste” dropping (less to restaurants, more at home, tighter budgets, more hassle to shop), overall food demand might also be reduced.

      Hope none of this happens, but every item above is a recessionary risk that one ought to be prepared for. You can play the same song in different keys across every major line of work.

    • Deanna Johnston Clark says:

      Nobody, but nobody, wants any vaccine Gates has anything to do with.

      • California Bob says:

        If a Bill Gates-sponsored/researched/proven vaccine for C19 becomes available I will have it administered to myself ASAP (and I won’t be the only one). Got any more categorically false statements to make while you’re at it?

      • Island Teal says:

        Its not just the vaccine. What else might be included in the injection and/or pill.

      • Shiloh1 says:

        If anybody knows viruses it would be Bill Gates!

        Just throw crap out there and (don’t) worry about it later. Works for Boeing, too.

      • Ed C says:

        Gates was a robber baron type businessman but I don’t fear or disparage his efforts or support of vaccine development.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Deanna Johnston Clark,

        “Nobody, but nobody, wants any vaccine Gates has anything to do with.”

        Really? I didn’t know that.

        • TXRancher says:

          There is a large subculture on the Internet led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr that believe Bill Gates and the Gates foundation have evil intents when it come to vaccines. There are numerous stories, some true and some false, about the vaccination programs in India and Africa causing damage. One that was in the news included the sterilization of African women without consent by a vaccine that the WHO later admitted they had been working on. Bill Gates is also highly connected to the WHO.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Trump is highly connected to the WHO. Talks about it all the time.

        • Bet says:

          Watch the Netflix documentary
          Inside Bills brain. For starters
          I have met the engineers behind his water from human waste and the small self contained sewage treatment plants being used in south east Asia. The tropes against Bill and his good works is more than frustrating and tiring to
          Read Geezus. Bill is not an evil person and he really isn’t interested in making more money
          He gives quite a bit of it away. Melinda keeps his ass in line as he says himself. ?. Please educate yourself

        • California Bob says:

          The NYT has a home page article today (Friday) about how the lunatic fringe–aka right-wing media–has declared Bill Gates the new all-around boogeyman (I don’t think Wolf allows links to the NYT or I would post it). They need a new one every few years to keep the level of hysteria up, and George Soros is sooooooo last year.

    • TXRancher says:

      The people in Michigan were protesting the governor who banned the sale of garden seeds among other things. She, like many others, have let power go to their heads. And the numbers for this pandemic are starting to tell a completely different story than the one our so called health experts were telling.

      • WES says:


        Funny, Ontario declared garden centers essential services!

        • TXRancher says:

          Yes that is the obvious conclusion. But the Governor of Michigan said that garden seeds were not essential because there was snow on the ground. Obviously she is not a gardener or has ever started seeds inside like most of us gardeners do.

  22. Bubble says:

    Let’s blow something up. Either Chinese vet clinics or asset bubbles.

  23. ewmayer says:

    This should be good for another 10% stock market rally! After all, what’s bad for the real economy is by definition good for the degenerate gambling houses on Wall Street.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      Right on point, looking at current Future, already couple of hundreds points up and today’s down day fizzled out and turned positive by close, NASDAQ closed more than 1% up. This market is the true symbolism of ignoring reality and live on hopes and dreams. They will find any glimmer of hope to rally, the current future up is due to hopes of a promising treatment.

  24. akiddy111 says:

    People can just buy Amazon,Tesla and other game changung Nasdaq stocks of that ilk, and make money year in and year out. That way they do not have to worry about unemployment numbers or Department stores becoming obsolete and the like.

    Am i simplifying things too much ?

    • lenert says:

      Even simpler would be buying stonks with your stimcheck.

    • nofreelunch says:

      Those company’s earnings models assume everyone can still spend like they did before, which of course assumes everyone is employed, as was before. People are so focused on selling and downgrading companies directly affected, that they forget about the companies that are two steps away from being affected.

      • timbers says:

        Who needs earnings? They are irrelevant. Just by the ETF’s the Fed is buying. ZH is saying State Street – one of the custodians the Fed is using to buy stocks – is providing a list of what the Fed is buying.

  25. Cobalt Programmer says:

    I wish these reports and predictions from the commenters be wrong. I saw a video where people are in cars, waiting for local food banks. Even if these are half-true, then the ripple effects would be long-lasting and far reaching.

    For example, in India, every Unorganized sector (local and low-level labor) is closed. Apart from shortage of goods, flow of money is stopped. As usually poor and marginal people are worse affected. Family and social system is still intact and they are lending among themselves. Again I hope, everything will be alright by mid-May

  26. Michael Engel says:

    1) The Nasdaq have inverted, dma50 < dma200, but market makers
    had a good day.
    2) Tomorrow they will have another good day, but watch out next week.
    3) Today Nasdaq is an upthrust.
    4) Market makers had a good day in SPX, but failed the DOW test !!
    5) SPY is eerie docile, QQQ anomalies.

  27. backwardsevolution says:

    What’s being left out of the story:

    “In a historic expansion of unemployment insurance, the federal government would give jobless workers an extra $600 a week on top of their state benefits for four months as part of the $2 trillion stimulus bill the Senate passed unanimously late Wednesday night.”

  28. Pete Stubben says:

    U mean Wolf, week four of the rally?… PJS

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Pete Stubben,

      Yeah, as long as your stocks go up, humanity can just fall off the edge of the earth. To hell with all these people. I get that. Lots of people think that way. And that’s precisely what is wrong with our society.

      • RD Blakeslee says:


        “Greed is the Achilles heel of capitalism” – picayune hillbilly sage in (shudder) WV

      • Icanwalk says:

        Thank-you for that Wolf! Perhaps your remark should be reposted on a regular basis. We are all in this together.

  29. Willy Winky says:

    Ya but it’s just a recession…. no biggy… everything will be back to normal in a month or two…

    Much ado about nothing.

  30. Jdog says:

    Normalcy bias is very strong. People tend to see the future through the experiences of their past. If they have never lived through a recession, they really do not believe in them. Many people warned that the actions taken in 2008 were going to have negative ramifications in the future as they were going to convince some people that the Fed could and would always be able to stop any economic crisis or recession.
    The belief in the Fed has basically become a religion, and people have faith based on nothing except their experience in 2008. Of course, the Fed has limits on its power just as everything else, and it does not have the ability to stop what is now happening.
    We outsourced our manufacturing economy, and replaced it with a service based one. 70% of our economy is now service based. We are just now seeing how vulnerable the foundation of a service based economy is. It is based nearly entirely upon discretionary spending, which are “wants”, and not fundamental needs. We will now as a country experience financial hardship and need to focus on needs, and not on wants. This means much of the skills people have relied on to make a living are no longer needed, at least not nearly in the numbers they once were.
    Corporations will resist giving up the cheap labor of foreign countries to build factories here, and will only do so under the force of government. Government will only go against the corporations if the people demand it, and rise up in civil unrest.
    People who believe we are returning to where we were are delusional, where we are going is going to be something none of us could have imagined a year ago….

  31. AlbieOK says:

    And to think, this first leg of the race is the easy one…☹️?

  32. Just Some Random Guy says:

    My overall retirement portfolio is down 10% YTD. Not the end of the world.
    Other than restaurants and things like hair cut places where there is 1:1 interaction, all businesses are open where I live. Traffic is normal on the streets.

    I saw Boeing announced all operations are starting up again next week, which will mean 27,000 employees are back at work.

    The idea of a prolonged depression is laughable. This will be a short blip with few if any long term effects.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Just Some Random Guy,

      “My overall retirement portfolio is down 10% YTD. Not the end of the world.”

      Yes, agreed, just a minor dip. Nothing special. 50% dips are a little more special, and we’ve already had some of them in my lifetime.

      How short is a “short blip”? How long before GDP gets back to where it was at the end of 2019?

      That’s a big question. For now, GDP is in free-fall and hasn’t hit bottom yet. We’ll get a better feel for it this summer. Once it hits bottom, hopefully it will begin climbing. If it dropped by 10% yoy (by ca. $2.2 trillion), it would need to climb 3.5% a year for three years in a row to get back to where it was at the end of 2019. So that would be 2021, 2022, and 2023.

    • Jdog says:

      Just Some Random Guy

      Boeing had orders for 150 planes canceled in March, and another 75 so far this month. Many airlines will not survive this shutdown, and that means a glut of planes. Boeing’s credit downgrades reflect this reality. And that is not even mentioning that their new plane is a death trap. If I was one of those 27K employees, I would not be buying a new car right now…
      We will revisit your economic prediction in a couple of months….

  33. joe says:

    I don’t expect small business employment to return and I expect large corporations to “rightsize” labor.

    What do you expect when you put Blackrock in charge of distributing the government recovery funds?

    I seem to recall they were doing something with housing in the last crisis.

  34. Island Teal says:

    Take a look at the Ag and Au markets.
    change is a coming………

    • cesqy says:

      People trying to separate their money from their government. Bitcoin another example.

    • WES says:


      You are watching the wrong items!

      Ag and Au haven’t changes one iota in a thousand years!

      It is the Federal Reserve Note that is changing!

  35. Jeff Relf says:

    People with weakened immune systems
    contract numerous viruses,
    one of which happens to be COVID-19.

    The solution is: Better long-term care,
    focusing on -all- diseases, not just COVID-19.

  36. Frank says:

    Low tax living – Portugal, if you become a permanent resident, (not a citizen) you will get your first 10 years free of all tax except sales tax, its a nice country, not a third world toilet.

  37. Mr. Doom says:

    The re-infection risk, infectiousness of coronavirus, our greedy, rash leaders, their disdain of science, and the purposefully limited resources of our private insurer health care system mean more and more future unemployment as infection clusters eventually explode. Unless Remdesavir or other treatments work and are sufficiently available soon, most companies are toast.

    Limiting hospital beds, limiting stockpiles of medical supplies, and limiting the numbers of licensed medical personnel to maximize profits and minimize costs was our economic downfall. Greedy, corrupt financiers destroyed our economy to funnel funds to themselves and their cronies; this virus was just the rock that triggered our economy ‘s avalanche.

    Out of respect, I proudly use the derogatory name a certain economic prophet was called. It is wise now for prudent critics to use pseudonyms.

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