Week 10 of the U.S. Labor Market Collapse: Still Getting Worse at Gut-Wrenching Pace, But Signs of Bottom Appear

Gig workers weigh. PUA and “Initial Claims” surge. But millions of other workers got their jobs back. Here are the “Insured Unemployment Rates” for each state, topping out at 30%.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Has the collapse of the US labor market finally bottomed out? It would have to stop getting worse first. After it stops getting worse, it might begin to recover. And there are signs that the labor market might be approaching that bottom, but the overall numbers are still getting a lot worse.

The number of people who filed for unemployment insurance in or before the week ended May 9 under all state and federal unemployment insurance programs combined, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for gig workers and programs for laid-off federal employees, and who still don’t have a job, surged by 3.68 million people in the week (not seasonally adjusted), the US Department of Labor reported this morning. They’ve now reached a gut-wrenching record of 30.96 million:

Gig workers weigh heavily.

The number of initial claims by gig workers who are now eligible to file under the federal unemployment insurance program Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and who are not eligible to file under state programs, jumped by 1.19 million (not seasonally adjusted) in the week ended May 23.

The number of gig workers who’d initially filed PUA claims through the week ended May 9 and who are still not working, has now surged to 7.8 million (not seasonally adjusted).

There are still well over a dozen states – including the big one, Florida – that have not yet started processing PUA claims. And when they finally figure out how to do it, those claims will add large lumps to the total, and we can expect to see large catch-up numbers in the future, reflecting gig workers who’ve lost their gigs in late March or April.

New claims under state programs surge at gut-wrenching pace.

In the week ended May 23, about 1.91 million workers filed initial unemployment claims under state programs (not seasonally adjusted). This means the layoffs are still proceeding at a previously unimaginable pace, at three times the magnitude of the prior weekly records during the unemployment crises in 1982 and 2009:

But millions of previously laid-off people got hired back.

And this is where the first signs of a bottom in the collapse of the labor market come into view. The number of “insured unemployed” – the people who’d filed for state unemployment insurance in or before the week ended May 16 and still haven’t found a job – dropped by 3.74 million to 19.05 million “continued claims” (not seasonally adjusted). This means that millions of people who’d received state unemployment insurance have been hired back:

The 28 states with the most “initial claims.”

These are the initial claims filed in the week ended May 23 under state programs and do not include claims under federal programs, such as PUA claims:

Top 28 States, Initial Claims in the week ended May 23
1 California 212,343
2 New York 192,193
3 Florida 173,731
4 Georgia 164,350
5 Texas 128,105
6 Pennsylvania 69,408
7 Virginia 58,591
8 Illinois 58,359
9 Michigan 57,714
10 Kentucky 53,738
11 Washington 53,280
12 North Carolina 43,221
13 Ohio 42,363
14 Massachusetts 37,740
15 New Jersey 33,290
16 Maryland 33,240
17 Oklahoma 32,127
18 Minnesota 28,615
19 Wisconsin 28,308
20 Oregon 27,514
21 Alabama 27,289
22 Arizona 26,878
23 Indiana 26,278
24 Tennessee 26,041
25 Missouri 25,917
26 South Carolina 24,950
27 Mississippi 24,348
28 Louisiana 23,853

The “Insured Unemployment Rate” per state

The “insured unemployment rate” across the US for the week ended May 16, also released today, declined to 13.1% (not seasonally adjusted), from 15.6% in the prior week. This is still far above the record in the pre-Covid-19 era of 7.9% (not seasonally adjusted) in May 1975. But the fact that it declined – this will have to be confirmed because this week-to-week number is volatile and might jump next week – may be another sign that the bottom is coming into view.

The “insured unemployment rate” for each state lags one week behind the national average. And they’re very different from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly unemployment rates for each state, which are based on household surveys. These rates here are based on unemployment insurance claims, on a weekly basis. And given the hurly-burly nature of the huge surge in unemployment claims in past weeks and the chaos that came with them, these rates have moved sharply from week to week, in either direction. So enjoy with some circumspection.

There are 37 states plus Washington DC with a double-digit “insured unemployment rate”; in six states, the rate is above 20%, with Florida at 25%, Nevada at 26.7%, and Washington at 31% (as I said, these rates move sharply in either direction, given the nature of tracking the chaotic collapse in the labor market on a week-by-week basis).

Insured Unemployment Rate by state, week ended May 9
1 Washington 31.2%
2 Nevada 26.7%
3 Florida 25.0%
4 Hawaii 23.4%
5 Michigan 23.1%
6 California 20.6%
7 New York 19.9%
8 Rhode Island 18.8%
9 Vermont 18.2%
10 Connecticut 18.0%
11 Georgia 18.0%
12 New Hampshire 17.6%
13 Pennsylvania 17.4%
14 Louisiana 17.3%
15 Mississippi 17.1%
16 Massachusetts 16.5%
17 Alaska 16.2%
18 Maine 15.3%
19 Oregon 15.2%
20 Minnesota 14.9%
21 New Jersey 14.9%
22 West Virginia 14.8%
23 North Carolina 13.8%
24 Ohio 13.2%
25 Kentucky 13.0%
26 New Mexico 12.9%
27 Illinois 12.4%
28 South Carolina 12.3%
29 Iowa 12.1%
30 District of Columbia 11.9%
31 Montana 11.8%
32 Delaware 11.4%
33 Virginia 10.8%
34 Wisconsin 10.8%
35 Alabama 10.6%
36 Texas 10.6%
37 Arkansas 10.2%
38 Tennessee 10.1%
39 Maryland 9.9%
40 Missouri 9.4%
41 Colorado 9.2%
42 Indiana 8.9%
43 Oklahoma 8.6%
44 Idaho 8.2%
45 Arizona 8.0%
46 Kansas 8.0%
47 North Dakota 7.8%
48 Nebraska 6.5%
49 Wyoming 6.4%
50 South Dakota 6.0%
51 Utah 5.9%

Holy cow, Los Angeles. The California economy is gradually opening up. But the exodus has started hard and heavy. And the influx has stopped. Read…  Catastrophic Plunge in Jobs & Labor Force in Los Angeles, San Francisco/Silicon Valley Smacks into Housing Bubbles

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  90 comments for “Week 10 of the U.S. Labor Market Collapse: Still Getting Worse at Gut-Wrenching Pace, But Signs of Bottom Appear

  1. May 28, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Dear Reader,

    As you have noticed, I switched to “not seasonally adjusted” data for all data in the article above. I have two reasons for this:

    1. Seasonal adjustments have recently gone haywire in the chaos triggered by the tsunami of claims. These adjustments were never designed for this type of collapse and may have led to some hefty distortions.

    2. The federal claims data, including the PUA claims, only come in “not seasonally adjusted” form. In order to add them to the state claims data, as the DOL does, and as I do, they all need to be the same — not seasonally adjusted.

    There is one drawback to going full-NSA: the surge in claims after the shopping season when retailers let go their seasonal employees. This spike occurs every year in January. But now that we have this gigantic spike, the post-holiday spike is a barely visible lump in the NSA data and doesn’t particularly distract. You can barely see it just under or near the “The Good Times” label.

    • Cas127
      May 28, 2020 at 6:24 pm

      I think looking at payroll size changes adds something too.

      https://www.deptofnumbers.com/employment/states/

      While unemployment rates give a sense of the percent of people affected, the whole “labor force” definitional gaming undercuts that.

      I think having multiple sets of data handy can reveal some otherwise hidden trends.

    • Wisdom Seeker
      May 28, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      Thank you!

  2. Steve M
    May 28, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Interviewing some small businesses recently about the issues they are facing during this pandemic, one pizzeria owner said the most troubling short term problem was finding workers. She said that minimum wage employers couldn’t compete against the federal government’s extra $600 per month for unemployment.

    Six of her eight employees preferred to take unemployment. A retailer that was approved for PPP still lost her entire staff of 5 part-time and 1 full-time employees.

    California’s minimum wage is $12 per hour. Rent for 1 BDR in San Diego is what? $1,500? So a place of your own consumes 80 percent of your full time income?

    The problem is larger than government largesse.

    I keep thinking: COVID-19 didn’t cause a nightmare as much as it exposed one.

    • Beardawg
      May 28, 2020 at 4:09 pm

      STEVE

      I believe it is $600 per WEEK (Approx $2500/Mo). Yes – a pizzeria worker who normally makes $2000/Mo would probably rather watch Netflix all day for $1500/Mo instead.

      • Beardawg
        May 28, 2020 at 4:11 pm

        Oooops…..$2500 (not $1500). ;-)

        • Steve M
          May 28, 2020 at 4:26 pm

          Yes. Sorry. Or rather, thank you. Even you don’t like the one you have, editors are your most helpful friends.

          My mind was fixated on the point about rent. Let me get a couple of drinks so I have a better excuse next time.

        • Shiloh1
          May 28, 2020 at 7:26 pm

          Both the pizzeria owner and the employee got screwed on the bailouts. They need to open up a hedge fund.

        • polecat
          May 28, 2020 at 10:48 pm

          Shiloh1,

          1986 -“Who want’s to be a Millionaire?”

          2020 -‘Who want’s to be Black-Hearted Ferengi?’

        • Joe Saba
          May 29, 2020 at 11:27 am

          spoke with pizza delivery guy week ago
          he said their business is up 20%

    • John K
      May 28, 2020 at 4:16 pm

      If you refuse to go back to work your unemployment claim is to be denied. It’s up to employer to keep labor department posted . Some states have online forms for employers to report and flag the free loaders.
      When you file your weekly claim they will ask you if you refused work . Not a good idea to lie about it .

      • Canadian
        May 28, 2020 at 6:04 pm

        That’s only true if the state is competent at collecting and parsing unemployment data.

        NBC News noted a massive Nigerian unemployment fraud that spirited out over $500 million in fake unemployment payments.

        Florida still cannot process its actual real volume of claims, and that will be a major deciding factor in the upcoming elections that will swing the state to the Dems.

        The incompetence at the state level is so profound, and so extensive, that the likelihood of any enforcement is probably quite low.

        I’m not advocating fraud, but I’m also being realistic in noting that it will happen all over. And it’s a bit rich if politicians focus on UI fraud while ignoring all the obvious fraud at a much greater level happening all around them (and often with their blessing). When the entire system is rotten, contempt for the law becomes the norm.

    • 2banana
      May 28, 2020 at 4:20 pm

      That is God’s way of telling you to find a roommate. Or two.

      Until you can move on to a job that pays more than minimum wage while living in one of the most expensive areas in the nation.

      I have always wanted to live in downtown Manhattan myself. Even with a decent salary, an OK 1 bedroom apartment would consume 80% of my full time income. So I didn’t live there.

      And nobody cared.

      “California’s minimum wage is $12 per hour. Rent for 1 BDR in San Diego is what? $1,500? So a place of your own consumes 80 percent of your full time income?”

      • cb
        May 28, 2020 at 6:42 pm

        Interesting how that works: Various places in the country like San Diego, Manhattan, San Francisco where a worker can’t afford to live,,, yet there are people on welfare who are living there right now.

        So what is God telling us about that?

        • JBird4049
          May 29, 2020 at 5:48 am

          cb, there are a minimum of fifteen thousand men, women, and children sleeping on the street or in a vehicle with in a thirty minute drive from where I am typing this in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m sure that someone, somehow is gaming the system, but don’t care about them. I care about the people I walk by sleeping on cardboard on the sidewalk.

          Some of them working full time (until last April of course!). Many on the fabulous disability of nine hundred on SSI or around usually fifteen hundred on SSA/SSDI (you do realize that the fastest increase in the homeless are retirees on Social Security? And children?) Public housing wait list has a years long wait or has been close for up to a decade depending on the county. Oh and apartments start at about 1,800.

          So, just what is God trying to tell me?

      • JBird4049
        May 29, 2020 at 5:17 am

        Declaiming Californians lack of frugality and willingness to sacrifice shows a lack of knowledge. There are not enough jobs that pay enough and not enough available housing and nowhere to go. After a while the victim blaming stops being insulting and starts being hilariously hallucinatory.

        A one bedroom apartment in the Bay Area starts at ~1,800 per month. At 15 per hour, you might gross 2,250-2,500. So rent would take 90% of take home pay.

        You can always move fifty or seventy-five miles away from the where the best paying jobs to where where the pay drops thirty percent and the rent twenty percent, or yes, stuff multiple people into a (small) one bedroom apartment. Let’s see how the landlord likes that.

        I’m sorry, but the cost of housing has been rising faster than inflation or income for forty years, and for more than half of the forty million Californians, there is no real practical way to square the circle no matter how hard they work or how frugal they are. There are after all 140,000 homeless Californians with most of them being natives. Of course, one could always move to Coalinga where the housing is cheap and there are no jobs at all.

        • Tim
          May 29, 2020 at 6:29 am

          Hi JBird4049

          I agree with you about shaming.

          But, get ready for more victim shaming from some, along with just repetitive trotting out of comforting nonsense from others.

          When the scale is too much for someone or the topic too hard for them, their mind just shuts down and the parroting of comforting themes begins.

          It’s almost pavlovian.

    • tom15
      May 28, 2020 at 4:36 pm

      It must be different depending on the state. I will be asked if there is work for the employee. If so, no unemployment support.

    • VeryAmused
      May 28, 2020 at 5:50 pm

      “I keep thinking: COVID-19 didn’t cause a nightmare as much as it exposed one.”

      This is precisely what happened.

      • MonkeyBusiness
        May 28, 2020 at 6:10 pm

        Yep. Covid19 exposes everything good and bad for every country in the world.

        It’s basically a time machine that allows us to see further into the future that’s always coming anyways i.e. bankruptcies of department stores, etc. Also all those companies that wasted money buying back stock, did they not think that one day there would be a reckoning?

        • Canadian
          May 28, 2020 at 6:26 pm

          There’s a very popular sentiment in the west — “party now, and worry later.”

          COVID just made “later” into “today,” much sooner than anyone expected.

    • MCH
      May 28, 2020 at 6:23 pm

      These are not the sort of problems the media want to talk about. If you turn on the TV or listen to your standard channels, it’s all about how the current benefits are not enough, that people will run out, what will happen in three months when the current benefits end… yada yada.

      To get the magnitude of the unemployment, I typically come here. I don’t bother with Fox or CNN or any of the business channels, it’s just not there.

      There is no way to know how the shelter in place while saved lives (no one can quantify how many, because that’s an impossible number to get without a parallel reality where we can see what happened with no lock down BTW, I don’t consider Sweden as a good model, because Sweden isn’t the US, it isn’t China, it isn’t the rest of Europe), but it is measurable in terms of the changes society is undergoing, and of course, not many will talk about how society as a whole has become more dependent on government largess.

      This problem of unemployment was induced, but like a genie, it’s out of the bottle, and it won’t be just casually put back in. Not without some strong incentives the other way. Measures around canceling rent will likely cause even more problem s because if you’re getting free money, living for free…. why would anyone ever give that up?

      • Realist
        May 29, 2020 at 1:29 am

        Regarding Sweden: Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland do not intend to allow Swedes into their countries when they begin opening up simply because of the out of control c19 situation in Sweden.

        Even Swedish media has begun to report on the real situation, among other things how oldsters are deliberately being left to die in care homes, oldsters not admitted to hospitals etc

        Sweden’s secretary of foreign affairs: It is discriminating against Sweden not to allow Swedes to cross the borders …

        A nightmare of the Finns has come true, ie a c19 bomb at the western border, another at the eastern border.

        Keep in mind when you read about how wonderful everything is in Sweden that >300.000 retired people in Sweden are living on or beneath the EU’s powerty line. That are a lot of people out of a population of 10 million.

    • Cas127
      May 28, 2020 at 6:42 pm

      It looks like there is going to be a fair amount of loosening to the PPP.

      https://www.rollcall.com/2020/05/28/house-passes-bill-giving-small-businesses-leeway-on-covid-19-loans/

      A cynical person might start seeing the supra-wage unemployment compensation and increasingly “let-it-go” PPP as stealth stimulus (de facto NIRP) just as ZIRP was showing signs of senior onset impotence…

      We are not there yet, but each time the programs get extended and loosened, the question is going to be raised.

    • rhodium
      May 29, 2020 at 8:03 am

      The $600 a week goes away in July currently right? The smart ones are taking back their jobs, or at least should in the next couple weeks before employers close the window of opportunity and operate in this new recession at reduced staffing levels.

      I’m much more in favor of small universal income payments, which still incentivize people to work. Productive capacity has not disappeared, it’s still there. We just get these monetary distortions from the debt hangover and psychological impact which could be eliminated more quickly by juicing the consumer.

  3. Joe
    May 28, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Question?
    Is self-employed in this unemployment numbers or just people working for companies?
    Some countries like Canada, the self-employed cannot qualify for unemployment even though many companies hire self-employed contractors.

    • tom12
      May 28, 2020 at 4:34 pm

      That is also true in the US. I have to pay unemployment insurance, I can not make a unemployment claim.

      • Joe
        May 28, 2020 at 4:48 pm

        So, if you double the claim number, it would probably be more accurate in all the people that were just been laid off.

      • Icanwalk
        May 28, 2020 at 7:11 pm

        As a former employer in the state of California, it was my responsibility to pay UI. Not my employees. I have heard many employees of companies saying they pay into UI. I think they have this confused with other employee pay-ins.

      • Debt Wazoo
        May 28, 2020 at 11:28 pm

        > I have to pay unemployment insurance, I can not make a unemployment claim.

        That is messed up.

  4. ewmayer
    May 28, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Wolf is this why the Holy DJIA sold off a massive, gut-wrenching, freefall-threatening half-a-percent today? I mean, it was scary to watch, slack-faced Wall Street traders looking up in blank-faced horror at the sea-of-red-numbers unfolding on their ticker displays. I mean, I feel for the tens of millions of recently-unemployed and all, but most of them worked in the ancillary, nice-to-have-but-non-essential “providing goods and services” economy, not the crucial financial economy which has been the source of nearly all the nation’s prosperity for the past 40 years. Surely something can be done to help the latter set of folks out. I mean, a couple more bloodletting sessions like today’s in the markets and we’re risking mass jumping-off-the-tops-of-tall-Bloomberg-terminals suicide episodes. Kids hear about that sort of stuff on TV and from their horrified parents, they can be traumatized for life. I beseech you, Jerome Powell – think of the children!

    • Tanstaafl
      May 28, 2020 at 4:28 pm

      You know what they say: A billion here, another billion there, and suddenly, it’s a lot of money. So, be nice and let them keep the change, their children might be hungry too.

    • Phoenix_Ikki
      May 28, 2020 at 5:04 pm

      I wouldn’t call 147 pts drop freefall or bloodletting, if anything, traders were too busy high fiving each other and forgot to hit buy before market close. In fact, after almost 6-7 weeks of market going up everyday when new unemployed filed numbers are release, I was kind of surprise it didn’t happen today although it sure did look like it at the start of today. If I am to guess, I think the market will rally up end of week/month probably another 500 pts up since the market will likely continue to celebrate the unemployment numbers looks like it’s stabilizing, business are back open again, nevermind 2.1M is still horrific by any means. Even some pundits like Mohamed El-Erian is starting to buy the quick recovery optimism. The market mentality right now can best be sum up as falling off a 10 stories building and happy that you’ll not falling off burj khalifa instead, nevermind either will still result in a fatal blow.

      • VeryAmused
        May 28, 2020 at 6:15 pm

        sar·casm
        /ˈsärˌkazəm/

        noun

        the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

        For the children!!

      • Shiloh1
        May 28, 2020 at 7:32 pm

        I’m happier walking my dogs than going back to the corporate sociopathy myself. Bad for GDP, I know.

      • May 29, 2020 at 2:59 pm

        As Drunkenmiller says, the Fed bought a trillion in treasury more than Treasury issued. This is the largest liquidity injection ever. However when Treasury starts issuing more bonds, the money comes back, [unless Fed doubles down]. On the fiscal side there is also a reckoning, members of committee who want to see where that money is going. As JP says he reads a lot of things about the Fed spending which aren’t true. [Not so much Fed buying]. Meanwhile pasty white faced old men in suits are telling blue workers, [some of color] workers to risk infection for less than a living wage, [alternative is a knee on the neck]. The stock market is largely symbolic as well, is it making you poorer, feeling more oppressed?

        • JBird4049
          May 30, 2020 at 2:41 am

          So the choices are: 1) Go back to work at the jobs that have a 40% or more chance of not existing anymore and risk death by COVID19 (or maybe giving it to someone else!) 2) Go starve and be homeless (and your family and friends too).

          Well, okay. We’re screwed, blued, and seriously tattooed. There is no way that the economy will recover in this decade or that the general population will not go revolutionary especially as all the banks, large corporations, and the 1% not only were made whole but got richer. Ready. Shoot. Aim!

    • MCH
      May 28, 2020 at 6:27 pm

      ha ha, very funny, as far as I can tell, the market doesn’t give two craps right now about unemployment, they are far more worried about the Feds shutting off the money train (not gonna happen) or sudden loss of access to China’s cheap pool of labor (not that cheap) or the access to Chinese market (haven’t had it… ever).

      Those and the impending Cold war between US and China are more likely the reason for this drop.

      The unemployment number is a known unknown, worst case, and the market has been going up 300 to 500 points daily as of late. Insane.

      • Wisdom Seeker
        May 28, 2020 at 7:19 pm

        I’ve been thinking of the US-China thing as a “Cold Peace”, still plenty of trade and not enough adversarial behavior to count as Cold War yet.

        But it has been shifting fast. And it’s not just the US. Google “China India”, or “China Vietnam” or “China Japan” and it becomes clear that Google wants you to know that China’s relations with many neighbors are becoming tenser. And for some reason Google really, really likes a website called TheDiplomat.com

        • MCH
          May 28, 2020 at 8:05 pm

          It’s a cold peace cause neither side can afford a cold war right now. Too interconnected. Although half of the US still has blinders on relative to the situation, thinking things can go back to the way it was before. The Chinese leadership isn’t nearly so stupid, they understand their vulnerability and aren’t willfully blind to the threat the US can pose. They saw what happened to the Soviet Union, so the move was to integrate themselves in such a way that if China fell apart, the rest of the world would go with it. After all, why are they advancing to become self-reliant, they don’t want to be stuck in the position the US is in right now.

          Seriously, think about it, who would bat an eye if Russia went to shit today, the only thing we’d care about is securing their WMDs. But China, everyone who is the least bit intelligent realizes what a calamity it would be if there was decoupling, where would the rare earth come from, where would the nuts and bolts come from, where would the iPhones come from, how about the API, how about a lot of the circuit boards in modern military hardware? The list is literally endless.

          The irony is that the same globalists who decry China’s “authoritarian” bent are the very ones who got rich off of China a couple of decades ago.

        • polecat
          May 28, 2020 at 11:04 pm

          Screw the G00G!

          Maybe the Don will reel them (Facezucker, twitjack. and the like) in .. whipped into submission.

          2017 – “Lock HER Up!”

          2020 – “Lock the FANGS UP!”

          .. I’d buy THAT for a dinero! ..

      • NewGuy
        May 28, 2020 at 7:51 pm

        Just wait for the 2nd quarter earnings reports to come out. If stock prices stay the same, the average P/E ratio will be in the stratosphere. The hopium will be exposed for what it is.

  5. Just Some Random Guy
    May 28, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    How can you say it’s getting worse? The number of 1st time claims as well as the total number collecting is down. States that insists on staying closed like WA, CA and NY will keep suffering. The rest of us won’t.

    • May 28, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      Just Some Random Guy,

      “How can you say it’s getting worse?”

      Read the article and look at the data and charts that I posted, they will give you the answer, duh!!!

    • Canadian
      May 28, 2020 at 6:08 pm

      >States that insists on staying closed like WA, CA and NY will keep suffering.<

      Infection rates are skyrocketing in FL, TX, IA, KS and other states that "opened" prematurely.

      By election time, the smugness will be replaced with pure panic and demanding to know where the aid for extra ICU beds will be coming from. And because the openings were premature and in contempt of basic epidemiology, consumers won't trust a second "all clear." Your economies will suffer for far longer than those of properly-science-based governments in WA, CA and NY as a result, and you'll demand bailouts (as usual).

      • VeryAmused
        May 28, 2020 at 6:20 pm

        Don’t be ridiculous, this is all a scam, everything is fine, there is no such thing as a credit cycle, 4th quarter 2019 was amazing, everyone is rich and there is no MMT bubble madness.

        Signed,
        Just Some Random Guy

        • polecat
          May 28, 2020 at 11:08 pm

          There IS a Fourth Turning just up ahead, however..

      • MCH
        May 28, 2020 at 6:39 pm

        I love the term “properly-science-based governments.” As far as I can tell, that’s the same as let the data guide us… which sounds great, until you realize that the same data guided these same governors to do pretty much nothing for most of February. Shelter in place didn’t happen in CA until much later in mid March, by then, the first round of infections had been well underway.

        The lack of testing likely meant the rate of infection will never be fully known. It is entirely possible that there was a larger rate, but only the sickest showed up to the hospital. It is also entirely possible that transmission as not nearly as great as feared, the whole point is, the mantra of “science/data guided” means nothing when the data is poor or incomplete.

        As for the soaring rates of infection, in the other states. The media must not be doing their job reporting the mass rate of hospitalization and tens of thousands of new deaths in those states there… right?

        • motorcycle guy
          May 28, 2020 at 8:22 pm

          MCH,

          Thank you for your last paragraph. I was going to ask Canadian where he is getting his data and to provide said data. But you took care of it for me.

  6. Pete Stubben
    May 28, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    You mean Wolf, week 10 of the recovery.

    Did u notice Andrew Sorkin yelling at Joe Kiernan on CNBC Squawk-Box the other day, demanding the market s/b going down…he squealed a couple of times ‘100,000, Joe, 100,000!!!’

    Not even in a post script did u point out the astounding fact that the S&P just crossed 3T & the Dow 25T

    Best…PJS

    • May 28, 2020 at 4:41 pm

      Pete Stubben,

      🤣🤣🤣 Intentionally or not, you’re one of the biggest jokers around here. Bone-dry bitter-dark-chocolatey humor.

      • Curious
        May 28, 2020 at 5:32 pm

        I would have given the award for bone-dry ironic humor to ewmayer, who described today’s: “gut-wrenching, freefall-threatening half-a-percent today? I mean, it was scary to watch. . .”

        After all, the Dow has increased 40% over the last few months, and many would have predicted the opposite direction since then, when unemployment was 4.4% and deaths were only around 500.

        • May 28, 2020 at 5:45 pm

          Yes, but ewmayer’s comment came to my attention in my commenting software only after I’d already commented on PJS’s.

    • Phoenix_Ikki
      May 28, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      Joe Kiernan, a miserable hack that lack any charm to be on TV. The way he interview guests and economist and constantly interrupting them, listening to him speak is like listening nails on chalkboard, makes me want to punch my TV.

      • Joe
        May 28, 2020 at 5:35 pm

        It’s like CNN…
        Don’t watch it so, it solves some of my frustration problems.

        • Phoenix_Ikki
          May 28, 2020 at 5:50 pm

          I don’t but once in a while stupid Youtube recommendation algo pops in and I see those stupid CNBC segment, only watch it if they interview someone that I might be interesting in listening but 10 out of 10 times Joe manages to ruin it completely, just unbearable as an interviewer.

        • polecat
          May 28, 2020 at 11:14 pm

          Phoenix Ikki, why give in to G00Gtube at all? They’re nobody’s unevil friend.

      • Person X
        May 28, 2020 at 5:54 pm

        Yes, he’s a joke of a guy like Larry Kudlow who still pretends to believe that cutting taxes on the rich and letting corporate America do anything it wants is the way to prosperity for everyone instead of the reality that it is just a bs Republican talking point that is crushing 99% of us. He probably puts on red suspenders and does his Gekko impression in the mirror at home still.

      • Cas127
        May 28, 2020 at 6:53 pm

        Sorkin is far from a prize either.

        CNBC is not totally without occasionally useful information (most especially if the internet is down…) but it tries…lord, it tries…

  7. Brant Lee
    May 28, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    Restaurants and businesses depending on seating are already saying 50 or even 75% capacity are not even going to pay the bills. There is more expense and food prices are way up. Unless another stimulus is passed, by the end of July many businesses will be out of business, unemployment insurance will be gone and there will be few open jobs.

    Meanwhile, loser corporations like Boeing announce laying off 16000 workers and the stock jumps 30 points. So, hail the stock market, it dies, the rest of us die. But, no matter what happens to the 99%, the elite have already padded their nest via the Fed.

    • Phoenix_Ikki
      May 28, 2020 at 5:47 pm

      Yup Boeing and among many, dead weight like Harley and Macy, in fact Macy had a 20% bump yesterday from some really good Hopium. I am sure their next quarterly earning will be stellar, oh that;s right, investors are already forward looking into 2025 cause they sure are a bunch of rational forward thinking type.

      HOG is even worse, turn around strategy is to bring in a new guy and announce they will limit production and go more exclusive instead at a time when demand is decreasing even without this pandemic..genius idea, market ate that crap right up, 10% up here and there since then.

      • Cas127
        May 28, 2020 at 7:01 pm

        But, in the end, things tend to play out like the Nifty Fifty in the Early’s 70s…forgiven management errors keep accumulating, until the “elect” f up enough to be taken outside and shot one by one.

        Otherwise, JC P, Hertz, and a couple hundred energy companies would not have gone BK over the last 5 yrs.

        Despite the bump, would you really feel good about holding Macy’s? (And what was the pct fall before the bump…I’m still seeing Macy’s as off 50% ytd)

      • 728huey
        May 28, 2020 at 7:37 pm

        Harley Davidson reminds me of the scene in This Is Spinal Tap where the interviewer is talking to Nigel Tufnel, and he explains how they use to regularly sell out arenas and stadiums and had a fan base that spanned all age groups, numerous racial groups, and even lots of women, yet their (then) current fan base consisted of 12 year old boys. He asked them if they thought they were passe. But Nigel said “We think our fans are become more selective.”

    • Canadian
      May 28, 2020 at 6:14 pm

      Retaurants, like department stores, are history.

      We are in a digital, on-demand, delivery-based economy. Deliver food on demand, or die.

      • Shiloh1
        May 28, 2020 at 7:39 pm

        Not disagreeing with you. I came across some kind of survivalist website that stated the average urban zombie apocalypse type would not recognize a bountiful vegetable garden in plain sight.

      • MCH
        May 28, 2020 at 8:07 pm

        Yep, that’s great, I’d love to be at the mercy of Doordash, Grubhub, and Ubereats.

        There goes the Bobby Flays and the Gordon Ramseys of the world…. hmmmm, actually that’s not such a bad thing. Bring on digital.

      • WES
        May 28, 2020 at 9:19 pm

        Digital food is very satisfying!

        • MCH
          May 29, 2020 at 1:09 am

          along with the digital job, and digital home, and digital sex…

          Seriously, just plug me into the Matrix

      • polecat
        May 28, 2020 at 11:22 pm

        Well sure .. whilst the juice still flows ..

        After that, it’ll be knapping flints ..to use on those other humans, the Cloud People who propagated thisHell we call ‘The Internet of $h!t!’

    • RD Blakeslee
      May 28, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      ‘ … the accidental discovery that many businesses are 90% efficient with employees working from home.” – John McNellis

      Something similar with restaurants? People discovering eating at home is a newly-discovered satisfying experience?

      I’ve gone on and on about home-centered enterprise and the values of a relatively solitary life.

      Maybe the Wohan virus will make some converts.

    • RenterinNYC
      May 31, 2020 at 7:00 pm

      How much of restaurant costs had been inflated from inflated real estate costs? Not only the location rent, but also workers’ rent.

      Let those real estate prices crash close to 0 and restaurants will be able to reopen profitably.

      Once the pricing mechanism is allowed to work, the economy might bounce back. Not before.

  8. Curious
    May 28, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Re: “So, hail the stock market, it dies, the rest of us die.” Doubt it. After all, it’s only the top 10% of American households, as defined by total wealth, who own about 84% of all stocks. So most average folks probably won’t be directly affected. But with the majority of middle-class wealth tied to homes, if those deflate, then we have problems.

    • S.C. HEEL
      May 28, 2020 at 7:51 pm

      Middle class housing is not a source of “wealth”. It is a place to stay dry when it rains. That is all. Anyone thinking otherwise is engaging in wishful thinking. No offense of course. That is what my observations tell me. Speaking from a middle class home with some experience.

  9. timbers
    May 28, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Looks like everything on Wall Street is back to business as usual, as in pre-Covid.

    Who cares about data? Not Wall Street that’s for sure. Data is irrelevant. The ONLY relevant thing is Jerome promises you endless trillions in free money, delivered to you faster than the speed of light.

    So the stocks went down because the China thingy.

    Just like almost the only thing that made the stock go down pre-Covid, was the China thingy.

    The stocks didn’t care about data pre-Covid, and now again they don’t care about it again, post Covid.

    Everything is as it was, 6 months ago, in Wall Street World.

    It’s as if Coved never happened.

    Because the Fed immunized our financial parasites from Covid by giving it $trillions$ of freebies.

    Doctor Fed has cured Covid in the financial world.

    Congratulations, Jerome.

    Thing is, Jerome said what he learned from Bernake’s QE is to deliver QE UPFRONT. And that he did.

    But Jerome never told us the next chapter to story. Which likely will be:

    QE delivered…UPFRONT…is QE never withdrawn, and becomes the new normal, the new foundation for the next, even sooner needed UPFRONT injection, to be administered with increasing frequency at increasing levels of UPFRONTED-NESS.

  10. SteveK9
    May 28, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    The lower classes are getting $978 / week (instead of $378) of unemployment payments. That is why there is no social unrest … yet. This is due to end August 1. What happens then? Do the proles finally realize these low wages they’ve been getting are screw-jobs? Can we go on indefinitely like this (UBI?). What will happen to small and large businesses, and the finance sector. We are definitely heading into uncharted territory. If we try to go back to ‘business as usual’, and half of those currently unemployed have no job to go back to, and benefits are cut … I expect cities to start burning.

    • VeryAmused
      May 28, 2020 at 7:22 pm

      Given recent history I would assume we just print more debt and throw more money out of helicopters.

  11. Tim
    May 28, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Let’s be honest. Just, for the sake of God, once.

    There are several phoney wars happening here. By phoney war I mean a period of common doubt that truly awful things are going to happen,.

    A period where limited experential ‘wisdom’ tells that it will be as they have seen it before. It will be so, simply, because the conception of anything else is… too much.

    US Consumer confidence – a massively influential factor for both the US economy and many, many, other economies has vapourised. It is not going to come back soon.

    China’s beautiful, glorious, 20+ years of uninterrupted economic growth will, Stand By Your Beds And Salute, continue.

    That both have, for years, years, been financed by massive, massive, debt, is of no consequence. I add the BoE to that fantasy too.

    The level of China’s debt – be it private, private/ municipal, private/regional government, Private/Government/offshore vehicle, just what the f*ck fantasy…

    …. Has ever has only been sustainable behind the CCP’s maintenance of a fiction, that their currency has practicable value nowiithstanding the above. Only a f*cking idiot would believe that there is such a thing as likelihood of honest yuan price discovery in the next 1-3years.

    It’s odd really. My PC has really slowed down, to a snail’s pace, I’m having to wait to type each letter, as I post this.

    • Cas127
      May 28, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      “CCP’s maintenance of a fiction, that their currency has practicable value nowiithstanding the above.”

      Maybe.

      Now do the USD.

      Chinese factories are newer and more numerous.

      America used to make things…now it mainly makes things up.

      This isn’t to say that America can’t recover…but it would require a reversal of attitudes/positions (political and otherwise) that have controlled the nation for 60 yrs.

      • Tim
        May 29, 2020 at 3:54 am

        Well exactly. That’s not going to happen in the timeframe required to prevent a prolonged depression.

    • Tim
      May 29, 2020 at 3:53 am

      Just to finish, now ‘puter woken up.

      In essence, where is the recovery to come from. China, nope, not this time, too indebted and rigid, opaque, mess behind an iron curtain. The US consumer, nope, scarred and far too many still unemployed and likely to be so for the foreseeable future.

      Europe or the UK, hahahaha.

      So, await new waves of unemployment as all of this ripples through sectors currently just holding their breath in this, the hope phase of the Great 21st Century Depression.

  12. Curious
    May 28, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Even if unemployment bottoms out, there’s no way to predict how fast jobs get back to lift-off speed. Nouriel Roubini thinks we’re heading into a decade of depression, maybe worse than the last one (a “Greater Depression.”) He thinks food riots are a real possibility, and wrote last week that even in Germany, where unemployment as gone up only 1 percent, few were shopping or eating out.

    Maybe another “New Deal” is what’s needed, (a Newer Deal). The deal could include signed agreements between employees, employers, and some type of public/private insurance. The terms would require employees to do things like wear masks, gloves, maintain social distance, do weekly tests, or whatever terms are required by the insurer.

    But a key aspect would be the insurance company’s taking demographics of the workers into consideration for rates. Such factors like age, sex and health could be included. For instance, in Italy, over 95% of deaths from the pandemic were of people over the age of 60. In South Carolina, the average age was 75. A few weeks ago the NYT said that 1/3rd of U.S. deaths were in nursing homes, either seniors or care workers.

    The most common preexisting conditions which can factor in are conditions like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, which were 94 percent of the patients having a chronic health problem in NY. Smoking and alcoholism are factors for any respiratory disease.

    IOW, the risk factors for workers is dramatically affected by demographics. Car insurers require you to wear seat belts and have a license, after passing a driving test. That same system could be used to get employees back to work quicker. We don’t need workers to build roads or bridges, like FDR had them do when there were few businesses ready to hire. We have the job openings now. We just need a Newer Deal.

    • Phoenix_Ikki
      May 28, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      Newer Dealer? FDR might not be perfect but you have to admit he is light years more competent than the clown in charge now who’s busy trying to take down Twitter. In order to have something like a new deal, it takes a leader that understand the multiple ways how different class and sectors are all interconnected and sometimes you need to throw people a bone to save their precious capitalism. FDR understood that, this orange popicle? Not a chance in your lifetime. If he comes up with a new deal, it will be one with money going to the rich and powerful while furthur gutting any little safety net there’s left of the system. He will surely tell you everything is peachy while middle class and the poor walk right off the cliff.

  13. BuySome
    May 28, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    What goes first, Honk Kong or Minneapolis? Do we have a winner yet?

    • RD Blakeslee
      May 28, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      Too early.

      Bullhead AZ hasn’t weighed in yet.

    • polecat
      May 28, 2020 at 11:30 pm

      If those rioters were smart, they’d head straight for the Eccles Building!

  14. Tony22
    May 28, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Not mentioned is the day after the last day that employers have to keep people on their payroll to to convert the PPP loans into grants. For businesses under 500 employees, the last day to retain people is June 30th.
    For corporate employees with over 500 employees, it is September 30th.
    Am I missing something, but aren’t those going to be doomsday for a lot of those who are still “employed”?

  15. CCC
    May 28, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    I find the people staying home for the extra $600 so funny. Be careful what you wish for (insert unnamed party here).

  16. PDneXt
    May 28, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    50% of Oregonians that filed for unemployment have yet to receive one cent. It is ridiculous and causing lots of suffering. Two hundred thousand (200,000) people, some of whom applied in early March, have yet to receive any money. They can’t receive the extra federal money without being paid for the state money. 90% of claims have been “processed” but only 50% have been paid, and the director, and her backer the governor, have been completely inaccessible and uncommunicative.

    An uproar is finally starting because the congressional delegation has had enough of the complaints and the state legislature is getting involved and the media is finally paying attention. But it’s pretty heartbreaking for a lot of folks.

    But we also have restaurants and breweries and small retail businesses that are having trouble getting people to come back to work. And they won’t be cut off. It does vary a lot by state.

  17. OutWest
    May 29, 2020 at 1:03 am

    I’ve been commuting to work daily for the past two months.

    Traffic volumes are miniscule compared to pre-covid.

    The rest is malarkey. Parking lots are half full at best. I can’t begin to describe how bad the labor market is because it is beyond description. I’m an old man. Never seen anything like it. Hold on tight…

    Best to all.

  18. Endeavor
    May 29, 2020 at 8:26 am

    You could pay the unemployment and allow the workers to return to work also until August 1st. That would solve the reluctance problem of return to work. This would head off any economic reasons for rioting but do nothing for the current leftist issues in the big cities.

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