Powered by Restaurants, Bars & Retailers, Jobs Bounce Off Bottom. Some Industries & Governments Continue to Shed Jobs

The 20 industries with biggest job losses & the 20 with the biggest gains. The unemployment rate would have been 16% if people had responded to the survey correctly, said the BLS; that would be 25.3 million unemployed. Abysmal.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The total number of jobs rose by 2.5 million in May from April, to 132.9 million jobs, following the April collapse of 20.7 million jobs and the March plunge of 1.4 million jobs. Over the past three months – the period spanning the collapse of the US labor market – employers reported shedding 19.6 million jobs.

In May, the gain was a composite of diverging trends – job gains in some parts of the private sector and further job losses in other parts of the private sector and steep job losses in government:

  • The private sector added 3.1 million jobs, which whittled down total job losses since March to 18.2 million. Over half of those private-sector job gains occurred at restaurants, bars, and retailers (1.74 million combined)
  • Governments at all levels shed 585,000 jobs in May, which increased total government job losses over the past three months to 1.57 million. In May, local governments shed 487,000 jobs; state governments shed 84,000 jobs; and the federal government shed 14,000 jobs.
  • Hotels, air transportation, management, oil-and-gas extraction, and computer systems design shed a combined 252,900 jobs.

This is based on the surveys of employers (“establishment surveys”), released as part of the jobs report this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The reference period on the survey extended through May 12th. Given the issues with the pandemic, the BLS noted that people were counted as “employed” if they were paid by their employer for any part of the pay period through the 12th, “even if they were not actually at their jobs.”

Below is a table of the 20 industries with the biggest job gains in May, topped by restaurants and bars which reopened in some places, construction sites where work resumed, and healthcare services providers as dentists and others resumed treating their patients.

The table is followed by a table of the 20 industries with the biggest job losses in May, topped by governments.

Industries with the biggest job gains in May, in thousands of persons Jobs Apr 2020 Jobs May 2020 Job gains
1 Food services and drinking places 6,251.3 7,621.9 1,370.6
2 Construction 6,579.0 7,043.0 464.0
3 Health care and social assistance 18,494.7 18,885.4 390.7
4 Retail trade 13,300.8 13,668.6 367.8
5 Manufacturing 11,482.0 11,707.0 225.0
6 Personal and laundry services 689.9 872.2 182.3
7 Repair and maintenance 1,136.1 1,213.3 77.2
8 Services to buildings and dwellings 1,908.5 1,976.9 68.4
9 Employment services 2,642.1 2,683.4 41.3
10 Educational services 3,323.4 3,356.8 33.4
11 Amusements, gambling, and recreation 757.9 784.3 26.4
12 Real estate and rental and leasing 2,123.0 2,147.1 24.1
13 Wholesale trade 5,539.7 5,561.1 21.4
14 Other professional and technical services 676.1 696.8 20.7
15 Accounting and bookkeeping services 972.1 985.3 13.2
16 Membership associations and organizations 2,751.9 2,764.6 12.7
17 Couriers and messengers 853.6 865.7 12.1
18 Transit and ground passenger transportation 319.1 329.2 10.1
19 Other support services 287.2 296.3 9.1
20 Warehousing and storage 1,126.1 1,134.6 8.5


Industries with the biggest job losses. In the table below, note that the job losses at in the accommodation sector and at airlines were proportionately large, with job cuts in May amounting to about 12% of total jobs in April:

Industries with the biggest job losses in May, in thousands of persons Jobs Apr 2020 Jobs May 2020 Job losses
1 Government 21,765.0 21,180.0 -585.0
2 Accommodation 1,178.5 1,030.3 -148.2
3 Air transportation 433.5 383.2 -50.3
4 Management of companies and enterprises 2,353.8 2,332.0 -21.8
5 Mining & Oil Extraction 602.2 582.3 -19.9
6 Computer systems design and related services 2,170.8 2,158.1 -12.7
7 Motion picture and sound recording industries 226.1 215.4 -10.7
8 Telecommunications 695.5 687.7 -7.8
9 Broadcasting, except Internet 246.2 240.3 -5.9
10 Travel arrangement and reservation services 174.7 169.3 -5.4
11 Performing arts and spectator sports 270.4 265.6 -4.8
12 Publishing industries, except Internet 746.7 742.0 -4.7
13 Other information services 357.8 353.1 -4.7
14 Investigation and security services 890.2 885.7 -4.5
15 Museums, historical sites, and similar 126.4 122.3 -4.1
16 Data processing, hosting and related services 343.4 339.8 -3.6
17 Facilities support services 153.3 151.0 -2.3
18 Rail transportation 155.3 153.2 -2.1
19 Advertising and related services 449.9 448.4 -1.5
20 Truck transportation 1,432.8 1,431.6 -1.2


In addition to the “establishment” data, based on employer surveys, the BLS reported the results from the surveys sent to 60,000 households to see what the employment situation looks like from their perspective, which picks up the total number of employed, including gig workers, part-time workers, the unemployed, labor force, and the like.

The number of people with jobs, according to the household surveys, rose by 3.8 million people in May, from April, which includes gig workers and part-time workers. This rise came after the 22.4-million plunge in April and the 3.0-million plunge in March. All combined, over the past three months, the number of employed people has plunged by 21.5 million.

This brought the total number of employed people, including gig workers and part-time workers, according to the household surveys, to 137.2 million, the lowest since October 2002. April had been the lowest since July 1999:

The number of unemployed people, according to the household surveys, fell by 2.1 million, after having spiked by 15.9 million in April and by 1.4 million in March. This brought the number of unemployed people to 21.0 million.

The unemployment rate, according the household surveys, fell to 13.3%, the second highest in the history of the data going back to 1948, after the record set in April (14.7%).

But there are actually 25.3 million unemployed, says the BLS

The unemployment rate would have been higher by “about 3 percentage points,” (so about 16.0%), if the surveys had been responded to correctly, according to a note by the BLS concerning the reporting chaos during the pandemic. This would raise the number of unemployed to 25.3 million (instead of 20.5 million), not seasonally adjusted:

As was the case in March and April, household survey interviewers were instructed to classify employed persons absent from work due to coronavirus-related business closures as unemployed on temporary layoff. However, it is apparent that not all such workers were so classified.

If the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to “other reasons” (over and above the number absent for other reasons in a typical May) had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been about 3 percentage points higher than reported (on a not seasonally adjusted basis).

Which professions got hit the hardest in terms of unemployment rate? People in the services industries, including restaurants, retail, nail salons, barbers and hair salons, many healthcare providers, etc., that were shut down. The unemployment rate varies drastically by occupation, from 23.6% in services (includes retail and restaurants) to 5.1% in management, though all major occupations got hit during the pandemic:

Unemployment rate by occupation May 2019 May 2020
Service occupations, includes restaurants, retail 4.0% 23.6%
Transportation and material moving occupations 4.9% 18.3%
Sales and related occupations 3.6% 16.2%
Construction and extraction occupations 3.7% 15.2%
Production occupations 3.1% 15.2%
Office and administrative support occupations 4.0% 11.8%
Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations 3.0% 11.0%
Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations 6.6% 8.3%
Professional and related occupations 1.8% 7.7%
Management, business, and financial operations 1.5% 5.1%


The Employment-Population Ratio rose to 52.8% in May, the second-lowest rate in the history of the data going back to 1948, after the collapse in April (to 51.3%). This ratio is the percentage of people who have jobs compared to the overall working-age population (16 years and older). It includes full-time, part-time, and gig workers:

So it’s good to see that the catastrophic collapse of the US labor market has bounced off what hopefully was a bottom, as some people – particularly those working in restaurants, bars, and retailers but also in many other businesses – have returned to work, while continued job losses occur at other operations and hit other people. The overall job market remains in an abysmal condition, though slightly less abysmal, and has a long road ahead to full recovery.

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  171 comments for “Powered by Restaurants, Bars & Retailers, Jobs Bounce Off Bottom. Some Industries & Governments Continue to Shed Jobs

  1. The Rage says:

    Counting furloughed workers as unemployed, was stupid. The key is finding structural job loss. These BLS reports are beyond poorly calculated.

    • Bobby Dents says:

      I was told that structural losses calculated the u-3 at 4.4% in May, up from 3.8% in April. Makes sense.

      • The Rage says:

        Another thing people forget is that PPP probably required bringing furloughed workers back faster, before reopening. This will eat recovery gains that were expected into the summer though.

        • Bobby Dents says:

          Good call. I am expecting job losses to resume this fall, most likely September.

    • Anthony says:

      I suppose, counting furloughed workers as now employed is also stupid. It will be interesting to see over the next weeks exactly how many more “stupid” things come out of the figures…. It will be interesting… lol

      • The Rage says:

        Don’t agree. It’s hard to parse data between permanently laid off and furloughed. Not counting them as unemployed in the first place would have helped.

    • Nicko2 says:

      I know plenty of executive level consultants who’ve had their billable hours SLASHED. They aren’t laid off, workload is the same….only hours are cut by 40%. They either take it or leave it.

      • KGC says:

        Billable hours are one of the biggest lies in employment statistics.

        • Anthony A. says:

          I lived that lie (system) for 30 years as a mangement consultant!

        • Joe Saba says:

          Anthony A.
          Jun 5, 2020 at 9:02 pm

          I lived that lie (system) for 30 years as a mangement consultant!


    • M says:

      There were new multi-state infection spikes reported just now due to Mother’s Day and loosened lock downs. Imagine what spikes we will have all over in days or weeks due to the nationwide protests. Many no longer treat this danger seriously.

      Sorry, but many job losses will become permanent when the restaurants, etc., Go bankrupt. (That is not a cheer; my tablet insists on capitalising all words after a period.) I sure hope the spikes will be blunted or stopped by the heat. Is anyone else miserable staying at home?

      • Happy1 says:

        There are some small increases in some states right now that relate to Memorial Day, not so much for Mother’s Day, these increases are being seen in about 12 states per yesterday’s WSJ, and none of them are even remotely as large as the initial case surges in the early part of the pandemic.

        And while it’s true people are relaxing, it’s also true that the highest risk people and highest risk activities are nowhere near what they were in early March, there is virtually no international travel, no sporting events, and aside from protests, no large gatherings. New cases are a fraction of what they were nationwide at the peak, and suggestions that a second peak will be larger than what we’ve already seen are not based in reality.

    • Ppppp says:

      Someone (wonder who?) got to the BLS. If you want an example of fake news, this report is it.

    • Kaleberg says:

      It’s an artifact of the old manufacturing economy. When demand dropped, the assembly line slowed, people got laid off and the unemployment rate went up. When demand recovered, they were brought back online. That’s when we had a lot of manufacturing and had V shaped recessions. The BLS set up its measurement protocols in that era.

  2. Bobber says:

    It’s interesting to see government jobs falling off. Is somebody actually worried about a budget somewhere?

    • Ed says:


      They say that states get 35% of their revenue from sales tax while local governments get 11%.

      You know that sales taxes have plunged in many mid and major cities. I’d say that’s a definite “yes”.

      • DawnsEarlyLight says:

        I bet the relatively recent requirement for the collection of ‘online purchase’ sales tax has been a ‘boon’ to state government budgets. Is there any statistics on how this ‘golden nugget’ has captured sales taxes that were once lost on online purchases?

    • Cas127 says:

      Sooner or later, they run out of other people’s money.

      Sooner or later, inventing money out of nothing, makes money nothing.

      Ask Venezuela.

      Or dozens of other historical examples of nations ruined along with their currencies.

      • timbers says:

        Venezuela will tell you the problems it has is not money printing, but illegal seizure of its assets, oil, bank accounts, gold by the US as well as illegal economic emgargoes & attempted illegal overthrow of it’s government. That is the cause of Venezuela’s problems.

        • Michael Fiorillo says:

          Exactly that, and thank you for supplying a factual and reality-based counterpoint.

        • Randy Oldman says:

          Well said!

        • Ed C says:

          Their problems started with nationalizing the oil companies and tossing the capable workers and putting in party stooges. They’ve made a total mess out of that industry. Socialists always quote myriad reasons why it wasn’t their socialist policies that brought ruin.

        • char says:

          @ed c

          Kicking out American oil companies was the reason they are in this mess. If they didn’t do that they would not have been ruined. If you “steal” from the maffia than you should expect that they burn down your house. Stealing as defined by the maffia. Normal people would call it defending your rights.

        • Raymond Rogers says:

          Venezuela cratered long before embargoes. The rot started under Chavez.

        • Cas127 says:

          Timbers et al,

          Why can’t Venezuela magically MMT its way out of them evil sanctions?

          “The government has this invention called a printing press…”

        • char says:

          Because you can’t buy things which you can’t buy. Venezuela has a supply issue, not a demand issue.

        • cas127 says:


          But why can’t MMT summon supply into existence?

          I mean, the G of V completely controls the printing press, which MMT’ers tell us means they should be able to fully and precisely control the economy of V – that’s their argument for its use in the US.

          It is almost like saying that the mere printing of pieces of paper at government will does not automatically alter the supply and demand of real world physical assets.

        • Happy1 says:


          Venezuela illegally seized private assets, printed worthless Bolivars, illegally shut down its own legislative body, and you think their problems are legal US and international sanctions resulting from their illegal behavior and repression of their own population?

          This is like reading apologists for Stalin and Mao, I guess they murdered 10s of millions because of US sanctions as well? Geez…

        • char says:


          You can’t make things you can’t make. It is as simple as that. MMT helps you pay for things you can buy, not for things you can’t buy.


          It is very hard for an independent country to do something illegal when the government voted for it.

      • char says:

        Venezuela? Its economy is going badly because the US has an economic blockade around the country. It is doing surprisingly well* for a country that can’t sell its oil and whose money in foreign banks has been stolen

        *) Well in the sense that a sit down restaurant doing 20% of normal gross is doing well

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          Venezuela destroyed its economy long before any of the US policies that you mentioned.

        • char says:

          Sure, making sure you can’t sell your oil, making sure you can’t pump up your oil, making sure you can’t import food, making sure you can’t trade, making sure you can’t watch tv have no influence. Strangely Venezuela was doing alright (for an oil exporter) before 2017 but they crashed after US embargoed them.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          “Strangely Venezuela was doing alright (for an oil exporter) before 2017 but they crashed after US embargoed them.”

          Venezuela hasn’t been doing “alright” in many years. Back in 2014, a few months after I started this site, I posted this article:


          I posted a few more articles on Venezuela in 2015, 2016, 2017… but stopped doing it because the show got too macabre. The problems date back many decades.

        • Kaleberg says:

          A lot of restaurant owners are more concerned with the net. That’s why they’re doing take out.

        • char says:

          Exactly, many, many decades. In fact century is a better. Doesn’t gunboat diplomacy come from Venezuela that didn’t/couldn’t pay British debt? And they would have fudged through for many decades to come, or at least for the next 5 years. But they didn’t crash because they ran out of money but because somebody was trying to strangle them.

          It is funny that Venezuela is becoming the best run country in South America* because of American strangulation attempts. For proof see the way the coup attempts or covid were handled.

          *not exactly difficult

        • Happy1 says:

          See above. Venezuela destroyed its own economy by overprinting money, confiscating private property, and illegally disbanding it’s own legislative body. The US imported crude from VZ until just a few years ago, the economy has been tanking since late Chavez era, you are parroting left wing fantasy.

        • char says:

          Venezuela is destroying its economy by being in a fight with the US. Everything else is trivial compared to that. And it is not a fight they picked

  3. MonkeyBusiness says:

    The first category is already unbelievable. Gain of 1 million plus in restaurant related employment. Seriously? That’s more than 20% gain. Open Table reported that reservations were down 85% compared to 100%. So with social distancing requirements within restaurants, you need more people?

    Makes total sense.

    Well at least Trump supporters can’t accuse the BLS of trying to decide the election the other way.

    • Michael Fiorillo says:

      Of course they will; the accusations may not be credible, but why should that stop them from trying to milk a news cycle for their benefit?

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      That probably says more about OpenTable than the restaurant biz.

      With takeout and other options, plenty of people are getting restaurant food. And with the restaurants totally empty I expect reservations aren’t a big deal.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        Takeout’s not new. Been happening since the shutdown. These are NEWLY hired employees.

    • Cas127 says:

      It is a 20% increase off the blast crater floor (the prior month’s much larger decline).

      Also, PPP employee payment requirements kicked in Month 2, after PPP loan applications in Month 1.

    • Mel says:

      But these are not normal times, and those aren’t job gains through normal growth. Look at that first graph. May employment numbers match 2002, but April numbers match 1999. Three years gain in only a month! We’re on fire! When actually all we’re doing is picking up what we dropped at the beginning of the year.

  4. Realist says:

    I wonder about the number of jobs and livelihoods permanently lost due to the last few days in the USA …

    • Wolf Richter says:


      We won’t know for a while. There is a huge amount of chaos in the reporting on the labor market right now. This thing collapsed so fast and in so many ways that the systems in place failed to capture it properly. When you look at the underlying data that they did capture, it’s all over the place. Eventually, the dust will settle, and we’ll get a better feel for the longer-term implications.

      • Ed C says:

        Meanwhile the stock market will reach infinity and beyond.

      • Ppp says:

        And don’t forget: social interaction=more cases. That is the iron law of this virus. No “weakening,” no vaccine, no herd immunity.

        Oh and BTW, who put PRRA in the virus, hmmm?

        • Happy1 says:

          This is only partially true. I’m CO, the statewide stay at home order expired April 27, and there has been a gradual loosening since then with no increase in cases and a persistent decrease in hospital cases. If efforts were focused on nursing homes and prison setting, and if large gatherings continue to be limited, it appears that this will be a manageable problem. Not to say no cases, there are still several hundred a day here, but far far lower than the peak.

      • DawnsEarlyLight says:

        In other words, more ‘fudge’ material. Everyone loves Fudge!

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Nothing is permanent; this too shall pass. There’s plenty of demand and plenty of supply, it’s just all been displaced and needs to reconnect in new ways and at new price points.

      Consider restaurants: people will always crave great food they don’t have to cook themselves. If they can’t sit down and eat in-restaurant, they’ll find another way to do it. Whoever figures out how to supply that demand will earn their spending.

      • Saltcreep says:

        From another angle, though, WS, we could note that the world is a finite place with finite resources.

        If we were to contend that we have been using debt as an incentive to overtax those resources (Also the biological wealth and diversity that don’t count as resources in terms of our GDP or stock market valuations…) then we must also see that we have been borrowing from the future in order to not to pay for our consumption in the present, and that thus, sooner or later, we will simply have to come to terms with more poverty on aggregate.

        • Zantetsu says:

          I also feel that we’ve been borrowing from the future to fund our current lifestyles and that this has been accelerating. I genuinely fear for my kids’ (aged 12 and 13) futures.

          My father retired at 65 from a not particularly high end job (supervisor at a manufacturing plant) and he has social security, a pension, and investments. He admits that he has more than he needs and can’t spend his money faster than he now makes it through investment.

          It feels to me like he’s eating my children’s future.

          I guess there is some chance that they’ll inherit part of it though so maybe he’s just eating some other kids’ futures.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        Except the Fed. They’ve been around a hundred years now and are increasingly good at their job at blowing bubbles.

      • intosh says:

        “Consider restaurants: people will always crave great food they don’t have to cook themselves.”

        Except restaurants are meant for “sit-down and eat-in”. If you can’t do that, then it’s not longer a restaurant but a catering business and that involves different types and number of workers.

        Demand and supply are really beside the point there — it is about jobs and people’s livelihood.

        • polecat says:

          I crave what I can cook myself, thank you very much!

          $$$ saved – Priceless!

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        Wisdom Seeker,

        Quantity demanded for restaurant food is very high, but, will people try to conserve (or even have) money after the restrictions are lifted? How long will companies keep their employees working from home? Permanently for some? How will that effect restaurant demand? The questions are how many people, how often, and at what price level are people willing to spend.

        There definitely will continue to be restaurants, but, the number of them, could be very different.

        This whole work from home and office closed to the public trend, could have far reaching effects, you aren’t considering. If you work from home and you get a pay cut, are you less likely to look for a new employer? There are many questions like that no-one seems to be considering.

  5. That employment population ratio looks a bit tricky. Is average age rising as well? I would have presumed that the ratio went higher right until GFC. The demographics are probably skewed. I presume hispanics have a higher ratio. Many retired white people still work part time, and blacks have legacy unemployment issues. Where are the DINKS?

    • Cas127 says:

      All valid questions…but tend to be somewhat marginal.

      Each 1% in ratio, represents about 2.5 million people.

      So large pct moves are going to swamp most of the factors you mention.

      In general, the 25 to 54 (prime working age) cohort has seldom if ever reached the highs of the late 90’s E2P cohort. Google the Fed’s FRED system.

      Overall, the US labor mkt has been poor for the last 20 yrs…crawling out of multiple impact craters (repeatedly) is not growth.

      • Seems to me everyone has a job. There was a societal transformation, and the trend should not have changed, when people lose one job they often get three more. They were going over the dismal employment trends for black Americans last night on PBS. 44 wasn’t able to do anything about that either. In addition to the wealth disparity gap we have the employment disparity gap. I have three jobs, and you have none.
        In the 70’s employers were avoiding legacy costs, they hired fewer people and worked them overtime, before the laws went to time and a half, and unions bumped it to double. Now employers use part time to avoid the benefits. Percentages are inherently flawed, a 50% drop in stock price reverts to the highs with 100% gains.

  6. Phoenix_Ikki says:

    Kind of an important point to be miss by the market today and this week but then no bad news matter, this runaway bull is going places, up up up we go…

    Will be interesting to see when 2nd CV19 wave hit if the job market will take additional hit and market will just shrug it off.

    “The industries with biggest job losses & gains. The unemployment rate would have been 16% if people had responded to the survey correctly, said the BLS; that would be 25.3 million unemployed. Abysmal.”

    • The Rage says:

      The real job loss was about 300000 as a prelim, before BEA revision. Companies are losing money. When the market crashes, I will laugh.

    • Nicko2 says:

      The virus is ravaging Brazil. We can expect a second wave in N. America in autumn.

      • Paulo says:

        I also think a huge 2nd wave is approaching the US. My question is, will as many people accept being told to stay home again? I don’t think they will next time. Mitigation efforts are already succumbing to personal freedom.

        • Phoenix_Ikki says:

          I agree with you, we are not even completely done with 1st wave and here we are, some and maybe majority think worst is mostly behind us. If 2nd wave does not, I wonder if it will just be ignore, more death will just be contribute to the all for the greater goods economically mentality. Timing is important as well if bad 2nd wave is around sept and Oct, then you can bet this administration will downplay the whole thibg and fug data and talking points until after Nov.

          Guess market is really taking the whole market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent to heart over the next 6 months

        • Cas127 says:


          It may be more a function of continuous lockdown for multiple months, with frequent self-contradictions from national and international “expert” organizations.

          More focused lockdowns, with fewer “expert” fck ups will probably aid compliance.

        • MCH says:

          Well, what difference does it make how many people are told to stay home in the US.

          At this point, if anyone did that (telling people to stay home), they’d be branded something or other, since that would mean people can’t go out and protest.

          Protesting at this point seems to be far more important than any efforts to temp down a second wave. At least that’s what you’d get listening to the media. I don’t think I hear many mentions of the fact that having so many people out and about in such close proximity is a danger.

          So, we get a second wave, one wonders how much worse it’ll be relative to the first.

        • char says:


          You don’t have to lockdown for months, just two. And it is not like people would go on normally if you don’t do a governmental lockdown. They would do voluntary lockdown. Which would cost more and take longer. Plus more death but that is not a argument that works against the “Save the economy” economy destroyers.

        • Noelck says:

          Our efforts at mitigation failed miserably. Now we will need to live through this. There cannot be a second shutdown. It has spread too far. We may be able to shut down hot spots. Our best hope is it will run its course and the strain weakens. Or a vaccine and vaccinations in 12 – 18 months.

          Taiwan had 7 deaths(?). A country of 24 million off the coast of China who evacuated people from Wuhan in February. New Zealand also appears to have done a good job.

          It’s too bad our leaders have failed to study and work with any countries that have done a good job handling the spread.

        • char says:

          It still can be stopped. Lockdown is still possible. And for how to do it i would look at China, Italy or Spain. Not the countries that never had a real big outbreak because you can do things when 10 people are infected that simply don’t scale to a 1000 people.

      • Raymond Rogers says:

        Unlikely there will be a sizable wave, since we’ve had a steady burn. But who knows maybe there might be another strain or five out by the end of the year.

  7. LifeSupportSystem4aVote says:

    Your statement – “The industries with biggest job losses & gains. The unemployment rate would have been 16% if people had responded to the survey correctly, said the BLS”

    BLS statement – “As was the case in March and April, household survey interviewers were instructed to classify employed persons absent from work due to coronavirus-related business closures as unemployed on temporary layoff. However, it is apparent that not all such workers were so classified.”

    Note that the BLS identified ‘interviewers’ as the source of the problem and not ‘interviewees’. So were the survey respondents considered the interviewers? Seems backwards to me…

    • Wolf Richter says:


      The way I see it is that the interviewers did a lousy job explaining to respondents what this question means and how to respond to it, and the respondents then misunderstood the question and responded based on this misunderstanding, and therefore didn’t respond correctly.

  8. 2banana says:

    Some states/cities have absolutely and voluntarily destroyed their own tax base.

    States can’t print money.

    Either massive cuts or beg for bailout.

    “Governments at all levels shed 585,000 jobs in May, which increased total government job losses over the past three months to 1.57 million. In May, local governments shed 487,000 jobs; state governments shed 84,000 jobs; and the federal government shed 14,000 jobs.”

    • Kurtismayfield says:

      It’s only going to get worse.. wait till the June numbers come out. The schools here are shedding people because the state budget is in chaos (going month to month does not align with town yearly budgets).

  9. Jenny says:

    I feel so gutted! I’ve been following Wolf’s advice to sell and stay out of the market and all we see is a huge rebound and record highs!

    Wolf, you provide terrible advice!

    • Wolf Richter says:


      I don’t provide “advice.” I cover economic and business fundamentals. Like it or not.

      But I did tell ALL my readers in late December that I shorted the market, and I told everyone on March 12 that I covered my short and went long:


      That’s the ONLY time I ever shared a trade — and even that wasn’t advice, just sharing something.

      If you want someone to tell you what to buy and when to buy it, this is not what I do. You’re in the wrong place.

      • Frank says:

        Hi Wolf, my question to you is if/when will you short the market? :-)

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Someone else asked me this earlier, here, and I replied to it earlier at 3:40 pm time stamp — it’s below somewhere.

      • Happy1 says:

        There will be a 2nd wave, or rather, many small and localized 2nd waves.

        But it is very unlikely these will be even remotely as large as the first. Here are some reasons.

        Testing. We had no ability to test in large numbers for the first 3-4 weeks of the pandemic. Now, we have capacity to test hundreds of thousands a day. Before, C19 was all over NYC for two weeks with almost no testing. If there is a 2nd wave, everyone will have access to testing.

        Social behavior. There is still almost no international travel and very limited domestic travel. And almost no business or convention travel. Large gatherings for sporting and musical and religious events are shut down. Most people are still not shaking hands and many are avoiding crowds generally. We don’t even know if there will be on person school this fall.

        Details of the disease. The majority of deaths in the US are in people over 70 years of age. In some states, including my home state of CO, more than half of deaths are in nursing homes. If there is a 2nd wave, you can bet there will be an immediate and much better coordinated action regarding nursing home safety.

    • Jon says:

      Honestly if this is not a sarcasm on Wolf then I must step in and say that Wolf provides any advice!
      Wolf is doing an excellent job on covering the financial and economical landscape but he has no control over the madness going around.
      Personally, I feel Wolf got lucky with his short position and good that he came out at the right time.

      No one should take anyone’s advice as the market is very irrational.

      I’d just end it with this: I’ts gonna be interesting

      • Zantetsu says:

        How can you claim he got lucky? He justified both his short and his exit from the short with reasons that was correct in both cases. It’s not like he was throwing darts.

        The only people I wish I’d listened to were the few posters in here who said that the fed would not let the market drop too far, and they were right. I got out when the bloodletting started which was fine but did not get back in anywhere near the bottom, and missed approx. 30% gains as a result.

        But to be honest I would have definitely been “lucky” to have gotten those gains because it’s just happenstance who I listen to and what decisions I make as I do not put nearly the same level of analysis and research into it as others like Wolf do.

    • MCH says:

      Is this sarcasm? Seriously….

      Wolf never gave that advice, he wrote a column that told what he was doing. No one had an obligation to follow him. For all you know, Wolf could’ve been a charlatan and you’d follow him off a cliff. (Hint, he isn’t… a charlatan that is)

      Wolf also told when he closed up his shorts. To try to blame him for your decisions is just the height of irresponsibility. And I’ll say it, STUPIDITY.

      So… Jenny, your comments are sarcastic, right?

    • John says:

      Interesting observation, always keeping me cautious Wolf. The reward comes when we take the risk, or the loss. Arbitrage is out there too, with Tiffanys’s and Taubman Centers. You ever short shares because you wanted them Wolf?

    • DeerInHeadlights says:

      Lol, that’s great. Where is the class-action? Where can I sign up? Surely, the small motley crew here can get rich suing the big bad Wolf for the ‘gut-wrenching’ advice over the years. ;)

  10. Wally says:

    I turned to this site for further clarification on the numbers and, of course, I found it. Thank you. So the individual who occupies the WH and who I regret voting for is taking a victory lap over fudged numbers. When will this sickness end?

    • Cas127 says:

      Both sides are lying without shame at this point, just brazening it out to BS that sliver of the audience too witless to go to the internet and think for themselves.

      It is Mental Defective Kabuki on both sides.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        And yet they’ve locked up all the electoral options again, so those of us who know the score still have no legitimate outside fix-the-system option.

        You can’t fool all the people all the time, but sadly you can fool a majority all the time.

        • Cas127 says:

          I think Kang and Kodos (the Simpsons’ resident Aliens…human eating Aliens) put it best in 1996 (!) –

          Kodos: It’s a two party system! You have to vote for one of us!

          Man: He’s right, this is a two-party system.

          Man 2: Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.

          Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away!

          (But don’t blame me…I voted for Kodos.)

  11. timbers says:

    Everything’s back to normal. Stocks hitting all time highs, buy backs rising, more wealth concentrated into few hands and corporations.

    Mission accomplished. Next 12 yrs/and or next recession/crisis:

    ZIRP and ginormous QE practically written into the Constitution, practically forever until a meteor strikes Earth. Perhaps the Fed will forever keep a toe-hold in ETF just in case anyone doubts it’s true mission. Yesterday’s emergency measures are today’s new normal…just like 12 years ago.

    The Little People will celebrate in the streets, being allowed back to their lower paying jobs. Those sucking in more concentrated wealth via Fed & bailouts will hail the extraordinary success of their own awesomeness, and look down up the cheering blebs with confidence in the knowledge that they truly are exceptional.

    • akiddy111 says:

      You are exactly correct. You can start by thanking Congress.

      Donald, Bernie, Nancy and Jerome, et al. all agree in one very important area …. the more the stimulus the better the outcome.

      Borrow, print and spend whatever it takes is the prevailing mindset. So invest accordingly my friends because the road between the mighty dollar and Venezuela is longer than most people here realise.

    • Saltcreep says:

      The masses are increasingly restless though, I reckon, timbers. I suspect there’s a steadily creeping lack of acceptance of going back to the same shitty job(s) for less real pay in order to afford living in an even more cramped, closet-like unit than your predecessor, whilst owing more decades of your life’s efforts in servitude to your financiers for the benefit of that utility. All whilst palaces and yachts get ever more impressive.

    • Stuart says:

      Where can I get a pitchfork and a length of rope ?

      • Saltcreep says:

        I’ve heard the shelves in the stores have been restocked, Stu, so I guess you’ll find them in their regular aisles. Finding them shouldn’t be the hard part, it’s finding out whereto they should be deployed, and working up the courage to put them into action that’s the tough bit!

      • Anthony A. says:

        I would also latch on to another load of TP and paper towels since they may get hard to get this Fall.

      • poleecat says:

        Make sure that it IS rope you’re aquiring … and not that bungee shite your betters have been pawning onto you.

        Cuz it’s the rebound can hurt!

  12. DR DOOM says:

    The government data will be back at 4% un-employment rate in no time. The Government just needs to know how many jobs will be gone for good. Once that pesky variable is in the hopper the grinding will start and it won’t take long to spit out 4% .

  13. Covey says:

    The folks over on Zerohedge had an interesting snippet of information as to who had been “creating” the jobs in the latest BLS report.

    Apparently there are around 200,000+ dentists in the USA.. During the period covered by the BLS report, the 200,000+ dentists set to and created 245,000 dentist office jobs. This enlightened job creation scheme at a time when most dentist surgeries were closed seems somewhat improbable, but if expanded over the next couple of weeks would solve the current unemployment crisis in time for the November elections.

    • timbers says:

      I totally believe that. At this point, I’ll believe anything. Nothing is too absurd in today’s world.

    • Cas127 says:

      Yeah, that bit of dental artifice (dentifrice?) does expose the inherent limitations of the BLS’ sampling/projection methodologies.

      Ditto, the birth/death models which had hundreds of thousands of new businesses starting up under max lockdown.

      Remember this the next time the G tries to tell you the price of ground round in your neighborhood…

    • Shiloh1 says:

      I think Peter Schiff predicted on a podcast such gaming of the PPP when it first came out. Bet the office jobs were the dentists’ wives.

      • Stephen C. says:

        Dentists getting a PPP loan, hiring “back” his wife and teenage kids. Or something like that.

        Same idea with the new business creation. Probably due to an attempt to scam the system. On the SBA website they clearly stated you might get $10K forgivable “loan.” How many people suddenly decided to call themselves self-employed at that point, in the hope of . . .

        • Zantetsu says:

          But if it’s a loan, the dentist will have to pay it back right? So how does it benefit the dentist to participate in this scheme? Just to get a cheap short term loan? Does he invest that money and hope to make some free interest before paying it back? Is that the scam?

        • Wolf Richter says:


          These PPP loans are forgivable — if certain conditions are met. So they’re gift, and I don’t even think that the loan forgiveness becomes taxable income, as a normal loan forgiveness would. But don’t rely on me, check with your tax lawyer :-]

        • Happy1 says:

          At Zantetsu,

          It’s a forgiveable loan depending on use.

          At others,

          Probably lots of fraud here, as there is with other government program like Medicaid and Medicare, but also a great deal of use by ordinary business. I work in medicine, and every small practice I know has received PPP funds, and are also very concerned about proper documentation. I’m sure there are frauds but that’s not what I am seeing, and I doubt that the majority of dental practices are risking their entire business for the small potatoes that PPP offers a small practice.

    • CRV says:

      This is exactly what Peter Shiff predicted in a podcast some weeks ago. “put some family members on your workers list and apply for furlough payments”. They are not real workers, so these ‘workers’ will disappear as soon as the ‘help programms’ end.

  14. nick kelly says:

    If these government job losses are for real and not furloughed, you have it a lot different there than here: Nanaimo, BC, Canada.
    I’ve never even heard of anyone in any of the three levels of govt losing their job as a result of layoffs due to budgets, slowdowns, anything.

    • backwardsevolution says:

      You must be young.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Job cuts are standard procedure in US states and municipalities when they run out of money.

      • Cas127 says:

        And, NK, the states kinda/sorta/sometimes/maybe have to balance their budgets (if there isn’t a finagle).

        And they can’t print money (although they can plead Kabuki oblivion unless the DC G does it on their behalf, making use of the G’s inherent Two Step Twaddle (Twa*tle?) powers…

        So yes, Virginia, there is a public sector layoff Clause (as it were)

        But its invocation is a measure of just how Defcon 1, asteroid-heading-to-earth bad things are.

        • char says:

          Why didn’t they get money? At least with local governments it is a going concern after Covid.

      • Rcohn says:

        Not in CA.

      • polecat says:

        But Wolf, it’s NEVER the ‘Generals’ who get THEIR tether severed.

        Tis invariably the low-end service infantry, who do all the real work, that receive that layoff notice .. no?

    • KGC says:

      I lost a Gov’t job in CA due to Prop 13 (at least that was the excuse) way back when when I was a college student working 2 part time gigs.

      I got RIF’d when in the Military (which is, of course, a Federal job).

      I could easily cut State jobs in some places I’ve lived. Local Govt’s also seem excessively staffed, as these numbers imply. Among the most bloated works programs I’ve known are the school administrative staffs.

  15. nick kelly says:

    Now that everything is back to normal does the Fed want its three trillion back? That way it have it ready for the next wave. Or will it just do another 3 T?

  16. Bobby Dents says:

    Delta’s announcement sucked wind from the market at the end. You could see it. they were trying to blow off, but you can’t have these types of permanent investment cuts and layoffs saying everything is peachy. Gonna be a red day Monday.

    The Fed has also been trying to force the market down and I suspect a fairly nice MBS sell this week.

    • MC01 says:

      Delta Airlines has been caught in the LATAM bankruptcy which will cost them about $2 billion when all is said and done, not to mention the complete or nearly so loss of their 20% stake in the Chilean aviation group.
      It was a puzzling investment even before the Covid-19 crisis, especially considering Qatar Airways, well known for throwing money at EM like confetti, contented themselves with a mere $800 million investement and a 10% stake in LATAM.

      On top of this US airlines in general seem to be severely overreacting to the Covid-19 crisis: they are slashing far too much capacity and headcount. With commercial flights up 10% worldwide in the first 5 days of June (believe it or not), US airlines seem to be missing the boat. You don’t slash that much capacity knowing you won’t be able to recover it until Q4 2025/Q1 2026.

      There are only two possible reasons I see for this.
      The first is that stock markets love when companies slash headcount and reduce capacity. Don’t ask me why selling less stuff (be it smartphones, cars or airline tickets) is considered a positive but some folks consider it a blessing. Go figure.
      The second is that US airline executives may be eyeing to replace that lost capacity with outright wet leases. Yes, leases of all kinds are generally expensive but when Corporate America becomes fascinated with something even cold hard cash doesn’t matter anymore. See Harley-Davidson’s fascination with India.
      To give an idea United Airlines sold to BOC Aviation a large chunk of their 787 fleet before the crisis started and immediately leased it back in a not-so-sweetheart deal. Yes, United got some quick cash to pad quarterly profits before the flood and wow stock market jockeys but now has another large quarterly outlay that cannot be skipped and the aircraft cannot be used anymore as collaterals since the title to them has been transferred.
      To make matters worse BOC Aviation may be incorporated in Singapore but is owned by the Chinese government, meaning it can be targeted at any moment by the White House: the closer we get to elections, the harder the war drums will beat.

      • char says:

        Or it is reason number 3: American airline companies expect that a lot of third world airlines will go tits up so they can cheaply upgrade their fleet. A fleet that is filled with old airplanes. I don’t think that they are that wrong in seeing the future.

      • Wolf Richter says:


        “On top of this US airlines in general seem to be severely overreacting to the Covid-19 crisis: they are slashing far too much capacity and headcount.”

        Passenger traffic in the US, measured by passengers going through TSA checkpoints, is still down about 87% from the same weekday last year as of early June. So yes, traffic is up a bunch from the low point when it was down 95%, but it’s STILL down 87%.

        Here is my %-change chart for the TSA data, comparing each day to the same weekday last year. So you can see the recovery, but it has been very slow:

  17. Gman says:

    When will Wolf short the market this time?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Maybe never. I hate shorting, as I said many times. Or maybe when the Fed stops printing money, maybe, maybe, because that would be too juicy to pass up. Can you imagine, this market, this overextended, without the Fed’s printing press to prop it up :-]

      But not happening yet.

      • Howard Beale IV says:

        If that’s the case, then why are many financial institutions doing crash projects to handle negative interest rates? Trust me, it’s happening.

      • sunny129 says:

        Mkt cap to GDP ratio is over 160% today.

        Guess, NOTHING matters when Fed’s put keep extended and the BLS comes out with numbers inconsistent with reality.
        The surreal BULL mkt of my life time continues and amazes me ( Been in the mkt since ’82) I am already deep into my retirement, cannot afford to chase this UNREAL mkt with absolutely no fundamentals. Look how many famous ‘money managers of legends’ sitting this one out!

        It is too good to be true but only obvious retrospectively!

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          Supposedly it’s retail money that’s driving the surge. Lots of small option trades here and there. Professionals tend to buy big.

          We all know what retail money means. Dumb money. Or most of them are. I bet it’s like the bitcoin run up the last time around. That too was driven by retail money. Everyone’s now slapping each other’s backs thinking they are geniuses. These Robin Hood traders might not be able to handle the comeuppance.

      • MCH says:

        I was looking at the market today, and was seriously thinking about put on another Put for the SPY. But then I realized I still have a set of long term puts that are in the red right now.

        But boy, this is crazy, this market is so extended that it makes no sense. In any sane world, the events of the last week would’ve at least blunted any of the market’s advance. But there is nothing but a series of ongoing highs. The SPY broke through 3000 like it wasn’t even there, and have accelerated onto 3200 range.

        Insane, this feels like a body running purely on Adrenalin, and the second the juice stops, there is going to be a serious crash. But the problem is, no one knows when the juice is going to stop. All we need to hear is that Disney theme parks around the world are opening up, and it’s off to the moon we go.

      • Cas127 says:

        “Or maybe when the Fed stops printing money”

        StarDate 32,175,654…

        …Sun implodes.

        …Fed announces consideration of possible tightening.

        StarDate 32,175,655

        …Fed reverses course (citing “Whole Sun Thing”) and increases negative rates from -99 percent to – 99.5 percent.

        …Fed comments “We thought the whole extinction-of-all-life-on-planet trend could benefit from some R-MMT (*Reallly* Modern Monetary Theory).”

  18. Duane says:

    So thinking outside the box, can we figure out a way for local governments to solve their coming financial catastrophies? Maybe they can be gifted complimentary shares of FAANG stocks by BlackRock?

  19. Howard Beale IV says:

    Any changes in U6? And I wouldn’t want to be near financials come the 2Q reporting period.

    • Borderline Millennial says:


      Why not? Q2 GDP will be negative, which along with the negative Q1 will put US into recession territory per the definitions. But it ain’t matter, the stocks will still rally!

      • Howard Beale IV says:

        You forget that at the end of the day it’s banks who hold the notes on individuals and corporations – and if debtors can’t pay, it hits the bottom line of the lenders. The first quarter they were able to skate by – who knows what will happen for 2Q….

  20. Jdog says:

    Looks pretty much like what you would expect. Most of the gains coming from restaurants and stores reopening. I expect in a few months you will see a considerable piece of those gains go away as bankruptcies begin to take their toll on the businesses that cannot survive the new normal……

    • Bricks n mortar says:

      Yes, and the operators will have spent their ppp funds. We will see how sales bounce back. We have quite a few tenants, their experience varies significantly. Casual dining and fast food is near normal, upscale hurting. Entertainment doing better than expected. Opticians, dentists, doctors and other medical services still down quite a bit. Some like Pet services and pizza may have been up over the last few months.

  21. DeerInHeadlights says:

    My layman’s thesis after having observed the markets and the associated players for some time is that things that move the market in order of importance are:

    1. The Fed (interest rates, money printing, etc.)
    2. Earnings
    3. Economic fundamentals
    4. International trade (including legislation/regulation)
    5. Geopolitics (wars, brinkmanship, crises)

    #1 is firmly fixed in place. It cannot change places. At least it won’t be allowed to by the powers that be. I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Hence the adage “the Fed is the market”.

    #2-5 can are interchangeable, i.e. any one of these can occupy any spot from 2-5, depending on the severity/timing of that particular factor. Covid-19 is obviously #6 on the list and the biggest one among the #6’s going on right now.

    At this point, I don’t expect Trump to stir the pot too much w.r.t. China/trade-war or anything else because his carefully crafted ‘recovery’ is going well, or at least the crafted reporting of labor data is having the desired effect. Even if (when?) infections tick up when the weather gets cold, the messaging will stay the same until he thinks he can get across the finish line elections-wise.

    I half expect the market to react to the horrible Q2 earnings but because things are so extremely irrational currently, I half-expect it to just ignore it as well because the market is “forward-looking”. It remains to be seen, really.

    We have to remember that the Fed provides the backstop to the market. It has done so for quite some time and continues to do so and will stay the course in that regard. It’s kind of like trying to do acrobatics on a solid floor even on grass, where if you don’t do things right, you can get hurt. However, if you put the same adults in a bouncy castle, they can do things that they couldn’t imagine doing in the real world, i.e. on firmer ground, without getting hurt.

    As long as that’s the case, I don’t see things changing. The retail investors, which have now become a larger share of the pie, simply follow the big money, which creates the momentum. They are in effect momentum chasers. Among many examples, it explains Hertz stock doubling since it filed for bankruptcy protection! This type of behavior creates more of a pull for those sitting on the sidelines, thus propelling the rally further and drawing yet more people in.

    Given all of the above, the only two things I see knocking the current bull off its course are:

    1. Q2 earnings being terrible in a way that is much worse than the most grim of forecasts (from the perspective of the MSM)
    2. Wave 2 of infections becoming so severe in the fall/winter that it necessitates widespread lockdowns. No matter how much the government and authorities try to avoid lockdowns, when things get very bad and people are just completely afraid of going out on their own, the lockdown becomes the de facto option. It becomes the ‘least’ they can do to mitigate the effects and the impact of the virus.

    A lot rides on (2) because if it doesn’t materialize in a big way, I can see the market looking past (1). In a more sane world, I wouldn’t expect to but as many have commented already, these are not sane times.

    • Bobber says:


      The way I see it, inflation is the biggest threat to this bull market. If inflation climbs past 2%, the market will drop big time because they know the Fed will be less supportive with stimulus.

      In this environment with numbers flying all over the place, inflation could easily pop to 3% one quarter, and this could easily and justifiably cause a market panic.

      • DeerInHeadlights says:

        True, that would be #3 on the list :). Although, I think the argument for deflation makes sense too because demand destruction can outweigh money printing, at least for the short to medium term and can last for longer than many think as the secondary economic effects of the crisis pan out.

      • Jdog says:

        Inflation is already way past 2%. Have you been to a grocery store lately?

        • DeerInHeadlights says:

          I have and my experience with groceries has been mixed tbh. Other than some items, most of the stuff I get has been the same price or even lower, bread being one of them. Not denying that others’ experiences have been different.

    • VeryAmused says:

      ” It’s kind of like trying to do acrobatics on a solid floor even on grass, where if you don’t do things right, you can get hurt. However, if you put the same adults in a bouncy castle, they can do things that they couldn’t imagine doing in the real world, i.e. on firmer ground, without getting hurt.”

      I love this analogy.

      I have a fear that the collective human psyche has been incredibly scarred, the bottom 70% are drowning under massive economic pressure and the V shaped recovery is delusional.

      I believe what will tank the market is when we open up and barely anyone shows up for anything that is not free or essential. This of course will show up in earnings but the actual optics of say an empty Las Vegas that is open and empty will be impossible to ignore.

      I hope I am completely wrong.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        hope so too va, and i also think so…
        mainly because of data indicating that, with the exception of an area near lake winona where all the kids are above average, the fact is that half the kids are below average
        and that average keeps getting lower and lower from the pov of someone studying that sort of thing for the last 5 or 6 decades…
        although, to be sure, there’s an old saying from some barney guy, ”ya can’t go wrong underestimating the intelligence of the average ‘murcan.” or something like that
        SO, Las Vegas, while likely not as full as is possible, will be full enough soon enough, and more than likely, all the rest of the casinos around USA the same, with the same folks who cannot figure odds of anything, especially odds of a virus event,,, OR who just don’t care.
        Way too many people anyhow, especially with 4% of population consuming 10 times that amount of resources???

        • Petunia says:

          Nobody needs to go to vegas anymore or buy lotto tickets, just get a robinhood account with $100 and place your bets.

  22. Michael Engel says:

    1) Young adult protesters and rioters will cont their activities in a stubborn repetitions. They will never let go until “Real Change” is coming. Millions of frail & older people will be infected, because their lives don’t matter so much. Job losses will resume before election.
    2) Employment numbers will go higher, either in a long slog up, or in a dead cat bounce.
    3) There are long lines in the take out windows. They are not built for America is back to their restaurants and their junk food. Additional employees will be hired to handle the pressure and the debris.
    4) Black market workers matter. There are about 10M – 20M black market workers. Add their number to the work force and u get a total of : 180M to 190M workers. Assuming most of them have been laid off, add 15M to the official number, or about 35M workers are out of jobs.
    5) That number is deflationary. They will do whatever it takes.
    6) PPP in repetitions. Rd #2 and rd #3 are coming. They will delay firing, and keep infected businesses on life support and ventilators. Illusion will blind expert economists.

  23. Augusto says:

    This is a total disaster. Part of the disaster are government agencies that issue non-sensical stats, a stock market that always finds a number to promote stocks with regardless of the economy and politicians who’s imagination and planning doesn’t extend beyond everything going back the way it was on February 28th. A V-Shaped Recovery is delusional, anyone walking down the street can see the closed businesses, for sale signs on homes and the unemployed before their very eyes. But you know what the real problem is: “It’s So Bad Nobody Can Believe It”

    • Cas127 says:

      If Teflon Donald pulls this one out by some insane, incomprehensible miracle, headlines will read “Prez Grabs Dems by V Shaped Recovery”

  24. No1 says:

    Hey Wolf, this is not relevant to the article, but why not do some podcasts of you/your team speaking with other finance/econ professionals and put them on Spotify? I am listening to these all the time now, no doubt they are generating big traffic for the hosts. Thanks!

  25. Michael Engel says:

    1) NDX fuel tank can send it higher to : 10,100 to 10,800.
    2) NDX is an upthrust. Expected few backups before moving up.
    3) NDX daily & weekly signal a Bearish Divergence.
    4) Since June 1 NDX is lacking demand. Today large, high quality bar, might be distribution.
    5) SPX : Feb 19 peak was an upthrust after distribution. Mar 3 high was a test.
    6) Today, SPX gap higher > Mar 3 test, producing a small bar, on high volume. There was a lot of input on the way up, until today.
    7) The result was 85% retracement, but not a new all time high.
    8) A 85% retracement : the downtrend is very weak. The next correction is not likely to exceed Mar 23 low @ 2192 (to : 2300 – 2500 area).
    9) Mar 23 low was a swing point. Today high is BAD news.

  26. MF says:

    Thank the baby Jesus the bars are back open.

  27. Norma says:

    Personally, I work for a national law firm in the Boise, Idaho office. They were expecting a 30% downturn in business and productivity. What we got was a 10% increase in business and 20% of productivity by people working from home. And the firm got the maximum PPP and was able to contribute to everyones 401K. Because it’s apparently allowed … well you know laywers.

    • Norma says:

      I know when the shit got real I quit being a slacker…. and probably my fellow cowokers too?

    • Jdog says:

      Makes sense, I am sure a lot of people are thinking about DPOA’s and Advance Medical Directives should the worst happen….. probably a lot rethinking the interventions clauses with so many ventilators being used to treat Covid…

  28. roddy6667 says:

    Before the COVID-19 spit hit the Spam, America had up to 4X the retail square footage per capita than Europe. The house of cards was looking for a reason to collapse. It is healthy and necessary. Don’t expect to see these jobs come back.

    • MiTurn says:

      Our local small-town mall is already a ghost town, well before Covid-19. The only thing keeping it going is the fact that the DMV office is there, a Dollar Tree, and the only jewelry store in the county. Most of the spaces are empty. No one enjoys going there.

  29. Willy Winky says:

    This article is an antidote to the euphoric MSM analysis of the numbers….

  30. George W says:

    The US labor market does not exist in a bubble. If the US is adding jobs back, soon the rest of the world will also be reporting that they are adding jobs back as well.

    Oh, happy days are here again!

  31. Kasadour says:

    Wait till Atlanta FED GDPNow releases the GDP figure for Q22020. Yeah, just wait.

    • Cookdoggie says:

      They’ve been updating that estimate for Q2 since early May. Last estimate as of June 4 is -53.8%. The earlier comment about market cap to GDP now being over 160%: it goes over 300% if that GDP estimate holds.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Cookdoggie, Kasadour,

        OK, time to explain “annualized” GDP growth. Most of the time in the US, we see “annualized” GDP data in the headlines. This means the change from Q1 to Q2 times four — to get a rate for the entire year as if this decline continued for four quarters in a row. So the Atlanta Fed’s -54% annualized means about -13.5% non-annualized from Q1 to Q2.

        This is in line with the NY Fed’s weekly economic growth estimator (-11% non-annualized currently).

        I think the US is the only country in the world to offer “annualized” GDP. The US also offers the other non-annualized versions, but they never make it into the headlines because they’re smaller and less impressive.

  32. Michael Engel says:

    1) NDX targets : 10,100 to 10,800. // Failed targets are negative.
    2) DC Calderon will make US dollar strong. The dollar will be in control.
    3) NYC financial jobs recovering to their previous peak is a wet dream.
    4) 100M Cigars co-ops 2019 Buying Climax. In response the ransacking mob will turn them into cigar butts. The crane plunge was hit #1.
    5) Lawyers and special forces will get the calls, the rest will fall.

  33. historicus Johnson says:

    The unemployment rate would have been higher by “about 3 percentage points,” (so about 16.0%), if the surveys had been responded to correctly, according to a note by the BLS concerning the reporting chaos during the pandemic.

  34. DRDJ says:

    It is my understanding that loan forgiveness under the PPP program requires rehiring of all employees. I wonder how many of those rehired restaurant employees will again be laid off once the PPP program requirements are met.

  35. BuySome says:

    Wolf versus Murphy: While reading this yesterday, I decided to take a break and ended up at a re-opened antiques mall. As it turned up, I found a great buy on several bags of vintage matchbooks (the restaurant connection here) to expand my historical collections. Now this is for those watching the hats on the bed or mere mentions of dogs as omens of bad things in the future. One of those matchbooks was from the Officers’ Club at Muroc. (It’s blue, so probably from the Air Force era when it becomes Edwards AFB.) Here’s the kicker…this is the base where Murphy’s Law got it’s name in those days. So do not whine about what Wolf has revealed when you make any decisions going forth…just be forewarned that at this point “Anything that can go wrong….”. BTW there was a lot of old Vegas in there, just in case you think this isn’t all a giant hall of crap shooting going on now! That’s the advice for this market.

    • BuySome says:

      Wow, if that’s not enough bad Mojo, it turns out that June 5th (1948) was the very day that co-pilot Cpt. Edwards and the entire crew of their flying wing aircraft met their ill fate! That’s got to earn a double-whammy as omens go, if you believe in that kind of stuff.

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