32 Million People on State & Federal Unemployment, 2nd Highest Ever: Week 17 of U.S. Labor Market Collapse

Torrent of 2.4 million new claims under state & federal programs this week. PUA claims by gig workers now 45% of 32 million in total unemployment. Many people are hired back, but many people are newly laid off. Labor market recovery remains hard to discern.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The torrent of newly laid-off workers keeps flowing into state unemployment offices to claim unemployment at an astounding rate week after week. But many people who were claiming unemployment benefits in prior weeks were called back to work, or found new work. And the total number of people who continued to claim unemployment compensation in the week ended July 11 under all state and federal unemployment insurance programs, including gig workers and contract workers, dipped by 433,000 to 32.0 million (not seasonally adjusted), according to the Department of Labor this morning. It was the second highest level ever, after last week’s gut-wrenching record.

Unemployment insurance under state programs.

It’s not getting better: 1.50 million people who were newly laid off filed their initial unemployment claims with state unemployment offices in the week ended July 11, up from 1.40 million people who’d filed their initial claims in the week before.

Over the past five weeks, these initial state unemployment claims totaled 7.25 million, for an average of 1.45 million per week, which shows how relentlessly companies have shed workers week after week.

Early on in the crisis, it became clear that the seasonal adjustments were not designed for this huge explosion in unemployment, and caused the “seasonally adjusted” initial claims to be over-reported by the millions. This is when I started reporting only “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment data – and this is what you’re seeing here, the unadjusted data.

These 1.5 million people who just lost their jobs and filed their initial unemployment claims represent the new inflow into the pool of the unemployed under state unemployment programs.

But millions of people who had been laid off in prior weeks and who had already claimed state unemployment insurance have gotten their jobs back, or found new jobs. And those people represent the outflow of the pool of the unemployed.

In recent weeks, this outflow was higher than the weekly inflow, and the number of people continuing to receive state unemployment insurance, the “insured unemployed” under state programs, declined.

But this week, the number of the insured unemployed rose to 17.4 million, the first weekly increase since mid-May (the blue columns in the first chart above).

Unemployment insurance under federal programs.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which covers contract workers and self-employed – the “gig workers” – which includes everyone from rideshare drivers to tech specialists working on a contract basis: 928,488 initial claims were processed by 48 states in the week ending July 11. This is the weekly inflow into the mass of gig workers who lost their work and are claiming benefits under this program.

In total, 14.3 million contract workers continued to claim benefits under the PUA program, accounting for 45% of all people continuing to claim benefits under state and federal unemployment programs.

Two states – New Hampshire and West Virginia – still have not figured out how to process these PUA claims.

State and federal new claims combined: 1.5 million initial state claims plus 928,488 PUA claims amount to an inflow of 2.4 million into the pool of the unemployed for the week!

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), covers people who don’t qualify for regular state unemployment insurance or for PUA: 936,431 people continue to receive benefits under this program. Nine states still have not yet processed any PEUC claims.

These unemployed workers under the PUA and PEUC programs, plus workers under programs for federal employees and newly discharged veterans, plus workers covered by all remaining programs combined are shown by the red columns in the first chart above.

Unemployment Crisis triggers Data Chaos.

The unprecedented surge of millions of people who suddenly lost their work and continue to lose their work came together with a slew of new programs that Congress enacted to support workers that would not normally qualify for state unemployment insurance.

Some of the laid-off people were told they were on temporary furlough and would be hired back, maybe. Others were just let go. Gig workers were suddenly covered for the first time, and that threw everything off. States were overwhelmed and fell way behind in processing these claims. State unemployment offices had difficulties implementing the new federal programs – and some appear to still not have caught up. So there are additional claims that will come forward in the future that should have been processed weeks ago, and they understate the current numbers.

But data chaos goes in both directions. Some fraud was discovered, and at the time, these claims overstated the totals. But those that were discovered were then removed from the system. There may be duplications and other sources of error that would contribute to overstating the current numbers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports the monthly jobs numbers on the first Friday each month, is working off surveys of households and employers, rather than actual unemployment claims. It has acknowledged a number of systematic errors in its system – including confusion over how to answer basic questions – so that its conclusions about jobs and employment have become useless.

Exactly how many people are still out of a job or out of work remains in the eye of the beholder. But with 32 million people still receiving unemployment compensation under state and federal programs, the second highest number ever, after last week’s record, shows that the situation remains catastrophic.

There is no recovery for office space. The number of people going to the office has declined over the past four weeks. Read… Work-from-Home & Covid Resurgence Maul Office Occupancy

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  219 comments for “32 Million People on State & Federal Unemployment, 2nd Highest Ever: Week 17 of U.S. Labor Market Collapse

  1. Lance Manly says:

    The data is to confused to be certain. But at this point I am going for W shaped recession.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Yes, and everything hinges on election-year politics. If a compromise is found to extend further benefits t those forcibly unemployed by COVID rules, maybe the second dip on the W can be attenuated.

      I am starting to wonder if the national “cash shortage” has something to do with a surge in black-market payments, allowing people to work gigs on the side while still collecting some benefits.

      • Lance Manly says:

        Funny, my local, very rural post office had a sign up for people to bring in coins to pay for stuff because they are having problem making change.

      • MarMar says:

        It’s a coin shortage; there isn’t a bill shortage AFAIK.

        • Tony22 says:

          You can microwave dollar bills to eliminate viruses, and every other thing that might be contagious on them. Not coins though.

          My nephew is buying “dirty money” for 90 cents on the dollar around the neighborhood and paying with ‘sanitized’ bills. He’s a cute kid, that might help with his business plan.

        • Memento mori says:

          Fed can’t digiprint coins, hence the shortage.
          Imagine if Fed was not allowed to screw with the free market, we would have 15% interest rates, house prices 60% lower, lots of bankruptcies a short deep recession and a very strong recovery. Liquidation is the answer, bad debt needs to be flushed.

        • CRV says:

          Coins and everything else can be ‘cleaned’ from virusses and bacteria with UV (B and C) in seconds. Buy a lamp, build a box and start laundering.

      • MCH says:

        I don’t know that I’d see common ground here. If I were the Jackasses, I’d want to make it look like I’m cooperating, but jack those figures as high as possible. Reverse if I were the Dumbos.

        But I don’t think we’re going to see a W shaped recovery. K is going to be what I’d expect in the long run. Except the top end of that K is going to be small compared to the bottom.

        • char says:

          h recession is my guess. Or a double h if i’m really negative. The US does not seem to be able to inject money into the economy in a sensible way

        • polecat says:

          Multiple Z uncovery, tilted downward.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      You know with Covid data now going to DHS instead of CDC with even less transparency. I get the feeling that in the coming weeks we will all of a sudden see a sharp drop off of cases. These people will try their hardest to continue with the v shape narrative if that means stealing a page out of dictator playbook by concealing facts and data.

      Before election year it’s all about keeping the market as disconnected as possible with real unemployment numbers, CV case count..etc.

      • Gandalf says:


        The real difficulty of completely faking the COVID data is that hospitalizations and deaths are definitely continuing to rise with this resurgence of COVID. This data continues to be reported to local county and state public health departments as they always have been, not just to the Dept of HHS instead of the now silenced CDC.

        Even states completely controlled by the GOP have large cities and counties controlled by the Democrats, e.g., Texas, Georgia. Their media markets will continue to cover the rising pandemic in their local areas and report the truth, which is obvious to everybody except the Denier In Chief.

        The decentralized multi-branched American political system, while often chaotic, has this great benefit of limiting the reach of tyranny, and that’s exactly what the Founders had in mind.

        The current complete disconnect between science and faith/belief will only become really obvious when the Followers of the Denier In Chief, also in mass delusion and denial (yeah, it’s not political anymore, it’s definitely become a DEATH CULT) start dropping like flies from COVID themselves. Like the parents in Orange County, CA and Utah County, Utah that want schools reopened without a mandatory masking policy for their kids.

        • Steve says:

          There is a very simple explanation for the uptick in cases in certain States, i.e Texas, Florida, Arizona, Cali. Its crop picking season and there is no way pickers are wearing mask in 100 degree heat.

          Our daughters (one a doc, one a nurse; both in Texas) have said 90% of the new cases they are seeing are Hispanic, who predominately work the fields.

          Closing bars will not help and is the wrong prescription. In our politically charged environment, we cannot even get a legitimate diagnosis let alone the correct prescription.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          This to Steve:
          May be some truth to what you say re harvesting, but IMHO, it is more along the lines of various idiocy re not wearing masks or doing any of the other simple and proven procedures to avoid contagion, especially with most of us inside in the cool AC space while it is well over 100 (heat index) every day by noonish at the latest.
          Having worked extensively in full summer heat in FL,OR,TN, etc., for many years, we were always about ”fresh air” in all those place, summer in east Medford, OR every day over 115 actual temp… worked as far from each other as possible…

        • Gandalf says:

          Yes, a large percentage, >60% of the COVID cases I’m seeing have Hispanic surnames.

          However, the last time any farm workers did any farming in or near the big city I live in was over 50 years ago. The city was paved over long ago. Crops don’t grow on asphalt and concrete or on houses

          The area we serve has lots of old wealthy retired people, and then not far away, Hispanic and Black working neighborhoods- people doing manufacturing, construction, and lots and lots of lower paying service jobs. These jobs all require close interaction with other people and TALKING with them which is how the virus spreads if they aren’t wearing masks

          The old non Hispanic/Black people are getting hit too. Just in smaller numbers. Nobody is immune if you aren’t taking strict precautions

          Of all the professions, I would put picking crops really low on the list as a route for COVID transmission. It’s OUTDOORS, meaning the virus gets dispersed and diluted, not trapped in the air. It’s done during the daytime, where the UV light from the sun, which penetrates cloud cover with about 70% efficiency, will kill the virus.

          Now, if the crop pickers are living in packed housing, that’s much more likely where they will catch it from each other. And that would be the fault of the farmer who brought them in to pick his crops so you can still have your arugula and spinach salad. Farm workers deserve safer housing

        • GirlInOC says:

          The parents in Orange county did NOT want to reopen without masks/social distancing. A radicalized Board of Education filled with anti-public schools trustees does (note: they actually have no ability to enforce their anti-science recommendations. Each individual school district is a separate entity from BOE, & they largely want to follow state guidelines).
          One of the board members is opening a charter school & so garners the biggest side-eye i can muster.

        • Gandalf says:

          A while back, I posted that bars are NOT going to work with efforts to control COVID. I would put bars at the top, maybe #1 or #2, on my hit list of causes of this COVID spread.

          Seriously, this is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE anymore. You just gotta read some of the science based studies that have come out that have examined super spreader clusters. They ALL have these features in common:

          1. Large gatherings of people, the more people in the gathering the greater the numbers infected. It just takes one infected person to spread the virus to everybody

          2. INDOORS. Let me repeat, INDOORS. The viral load in the air stays in the room, is not dispersed by wind and not diluted. The sun’s sterilizing UV rays are blocked

          3. Setting where people are vocalizing. Just one infected person will keep spewing lots of aerosolized virus EVERY time he/she talks or sings. Coughing and sneezing are NOT required.

          You can’t realistically open bars with that knowledge. People go to bars not just to drink, but to socialize, which means talking, singing karaoke, whatever, which means spewing virus particles into an enclosed room full of people. You can’t keep a mask on while drinking or eating, and nobody is anal compulsive enough to put their mask back on in between bites of food and swigs of drink

          Yeah, I do believe we can reopen our economy in a science based fashion. And that means bars are done for until the pandemic is over

          Schools packed with screaming kids not wearing masks will be the next super spreader sites. You hear that, Orange County?

      • Mira says:

        In Australia we are being threatened with compulsory mask wearing.
        There is condemnation at this prospect.
        In Victoria where I am, online shopping at supermarkets has collapsed .. AGAIN !! .. due to faulty who knows what’s .. I know it is a lie ’cause my sons are tech trained .. it only take someone who is experiences to set it all up again rather quickly & not in days.

        Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews has yet again imposed level 4 restrictions .. house arrest .. upon us all.
        We the people needed to be quicker on the mark.
        We the people should have taken up mask wearing on day 1 of the COVID-19 pandemic.
        If we the people of Victoria had insisted wearing masks when restrictions were eased recently ..
        How would they .. with what excuse could they .. have imposed new restrictions ??
        “Dude .. observe .. we are not breathing on each other .. ”
        But also .. are our supermarkets Bankrupt ??
        Is it that they are struggling with the banks to stay open – online & delivering .. are they not able to pay their electricity bills – their online service bills .. WHAT ??

        • Mira says:

          To my mind it has got to be that there is no money to pay to run the service .. ??
          So .. where is government assistance .. ??
          We all still need to eat & we pay up front or at the register.

          The customer is there.
          Where are the good & service providers ??
          And if we pay up front .. surely there is cash flow to keep the whole shabang running ??

          OR .. are they so in debt from before .. ?? ..
          Who said ‘flush out the debt’ ??
          Are they going to let some of us starve to death ??
          Dear God in heaven what have we become !!

    • M says:

      I am regretfully looking for a U shaped recession because America’s small businesses are not being protected unless they are owned by banksters’ or others’ cronies. We will see an enormous loss of jobs because we are losing so many small businesses.

      If we do not provide an avenue for those small business owners, who are currently being evicted from their homes and/or businesses, to get credit to re-establish themselves and reopen eventually, after this darn pandemic finally ceases, we will pay the price. It may become an “L” shaped recession: if huge numbers of Americans do not have jobs available to them and many small businesses vanish forever. Enough small businesses employ as many people as all large businesses and provide funds for the large businesses’ goods to be purchased.

  2. Doug says:

    Wolf, is there some double-counting of people getting a benefit of both Federal and State programs?? In other words, is it correct to add the State and Federal numbers??

    • Wolf Richter says:


      There should be no double-counting, it’s either one or the other. But there could be some who wriggle through the system and get both.

      I did not add the numbers. The Department of Labor did. I cited the total number of unemployment claims, the 32 million, straight from DOL’s press release (linked in the article above), paragraph 5, under the fourth chart, and also further down in the summary table.

    • Dave says:

      Just today, I read from some analysts that dig into the data behind the headline numbers (like Wolf) and they advised that there is a certain amount of double counting in the numbers. These guys aren’t the cheerleader kind either. Oh yes, I read it from Hedgeye.

  3. MonkeyBusiness says:

    “And according to a new study released Thursday, Americans who received enhanced unemployment benefits spent roughly 10% more than when they were working, according to Reuters. This of course makes sense, as some 63% of jobless workers making more on unemployment than when they were working.”

    Best depression ever?

    So people are skipping rent, mortgage etc to spend? Just throw them to the wall.

    • Nick says:

      Who cares what people do with the extra money? It’s nice to see the working people/middle class getting “bailed” out. How much have the banks and failed corporations and financial companies received in the last 12 years?????? TRILLIONS! And all that does is fuel malinvestment. At least the little people spending money actually goes to purchasing tangible products like clothes, paying down credit cards and by god being able to pay medical bills. Unlike the rich who simply take their “bailouts” and stick it in financial assets and do nothing to stimulate the economy on mainstreet. And let’s not forget the dreadful aspect of losing a job in America……..HEALTH INSURANCE!!! Cobra is a joke! That extra $600 was supposed to used to pay for unemployed worker’s health insurance. Only in America is healthcare tied to your job. That needs to change ASAP! What an effing joke. So while everyone wants to bash the supposed disincentive of an extra $2400 a month let’s not forget a majority of people actually DO NEED IT!! Hell, I’m an essential worker and I’ve had to spend extra money on childcare lately to the tune of $1000+ a month due to schools being shut down. Do I get my tax dollars back? The government and a lot of Americans want to believe the hysteria and fear regarding COVID well fine………….they can destroy the economy but then they need to pay UP!!!!! TRILLIONS go into a failed foreign policy military industrial complex, into wallstreet and banking, into illegal immigration, and people on here and out there bit@# and moan about a measly $2400 extra a month for hardworking laid off Americans? GIMME A BREAK!!

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        That money partly comes from people like me who is still working. Why shouldn’t I have a say in how my money is being used?

        You are preaching to the choir when it comes to the big social/economic issues of our country. But feeding the consumption cycle is an indirect bailout to the big corps which then flows to the big banks etc. In other words, nothing will get solved. You are basically stuffing the corpse with even more crap.

        • dwc says:

          That money partly comes from people like me who is still working.
          Not really. Taxes don’t come close to covering what is being spent. That money was created out of thin air.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I kind of got that impression too. I wonder what will happen to consumption when the $600 a week peter out at the end of July. For many people, it’s an incentive not to go to work.

      We might get a better feel of what the real unemployment situation looks like a month after the extra $600/week ends.

      • Icanwalk says:

        How about looking at sales and use tax month to month and quarter to quarter this year compared to last year? California Board of Equalization would have that info? Or whatever they are calling themselves these days.

        Couldn’t we infer consumption from those numbers? At least for the Golden State.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        The answer is the government will throw in more money.

        People however will need to pay rent, since that’s an obligation. Buying new clothes is optional.

        This country is filled with too many entitled people.

        • OutsideTheBox says:

          I love how you demonstrate entitlement by labeling others as entitled!!!!

          Good show !!!!

        • Petunia says:

          Buying new clothes is not optional if you need shoes, or underwear, or your old clothes no longer fit. Nobody on a limited income wants to waste money. They buy what they need. It’s a good thing you have plenty of everything you need.

        • Shiloh1 says:

          Found a Goodwill near old money upscale suburban area. If anybody needs men’s high end dress clothes like Thomas James, Brooks Brothers and VanHeusen – all very cheap if you can find your size. Good stuff from several years ago made here. Trophy widows don’t want to bother with garage sales.

      • Just Some Random Guy says:

        “I wonder what will happen to consumption when the $600 a week peter out at the end of July.”

        You know very well it’s getting extended. Wouldn’t surprise me if it’s increased to $800 as well.

        • Anthony A. says:

          If it’s extended, I know of two people in my extended family that will stay unemployed.

        • MiTurn says:

          This is a response to Anthony A: my extended family too. And they’re bragging about it!

        • HR01 says:


          Actually, no. The word we’re hearing is there will be some incremental tweaks to the original stimulus Act but not another wholesale round of benefits offered. Extension of basic UI, of course, that is pretty much guaranteed. Might see multiple extensions of basic benefits, adding 13 weeks or 26 weeks of eligibility. The $600 weekly bonus will be allowed to expire at the end of next week. Highly unlikely to be extended.

      • HR01 says:


        Absolutely correct. Consumption numbers should take a beating when the bonus money runs out on July 25. In most states, basic unemployment insurance benefits won’t pay the bills.

        Now that the well is about to run dry many will try to get their old jobs back but will find that they’re gone forever. We’ve seen this story play out over and over here in the Valley. Employers couldn’t get their furloughed workers to come back no matter what. We don’t blame the workers. The incentive was just too powerful to stay home and collect more than $800/week without having to fork over payroll taxes.

        So August should be a poor month, economically. Still will be just a warm-up for the avalanche of job cuts coming in the 4th quarter after the expiration of PPP loan covenants Sep 30.

      • MCH says:

        A bigger question might be what jobs are going to be available at the end of it. Since there is a significant amount of demand destruction happening, we’re going to end up potentially with some kind of death spiral.

      • Rcohn says:

        I read that in Massachusetts , the Fed s 600 added to the state unemployment and other benefits was equivalent to over $70,000 while employed.Very few workers would rather work than get benefits

        • dwc says:

          Mass max is $823 for individual,$1234 for someone with dependents. Toss in 600.
          Max is 1834/month or $22K. Nowhere near 70K?
          You can google it…

        • HR01 says:


          Agreed. Quite the windfall and no payroll taxes deducted. As an unemployed individual, what’s not to like?

          As for dwc’s comment, he’s assuming these payout numbers are per month when they’re actually per week. So the max in MA comes in just shy of $74K per year. Of course this bonus program is only in effect for 13 weeks so the annual extrapolation doesn’t mean much except for newspaper headline writers.

      • Jdog says:

        I heard a podcast where they were talking about the data of the impact of the 600wk, and how lower income people substantially increased spending once they began receiving it.
        The point they were making was it was basically the 600wk that caused the economy to rebound out of recession, and that if it stopped then spending will drop and the economy will drop back into recession.

        I do not think the government can afford to support this economy for too much longer….

      • Coca Cola says:


        I think the $600 ends on the 24th. The state money continues maybe.

      • GirlInOC says:

        Why isn’t the extra $600 seen as a version of UBI? I thought the data coming out of UBI research showed positive outcomes for poor & the working-class & does not take away work incentives. It goes to childcare, housing, debt, education, etc. Canada is successfully giving their citizens a pretty big monthly payment during Covid.

        • Jdog says:

          The poor are not poor because they make smart money decisions. The more money you give poor people the more they will spend on consumption, which is why they are poor in the first place….
          The $600 is a failed attempt to keep the economy stimulated. IMO, due to the demographic of the majority of recipients, most of it is probably going for alcohol and dope. I doubt if even a small fraction is going to the businesses that are in real trouble, and will not survive.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Jdog-suggest you find a copy of Veblen’s ‘Theory of the Leisure Class’. It was the platform from which the question : ‘…what do we do now???’ in the wake of U.S. victory in WWII was answered. That answer? Double/triple/fourple-down on a consumer society becoming our national raison d’etre. Now that gaming and fraud are the high-level economic normalities, i find it interesting that you fault the poor for consuming when our society has been well and truly bombarded with nothing but that message, it’s fruits accruing to the ‘smart’ money at the top, for three-plus generations. Consumption rebuilt this country (not sustainably, i agree) after the war. If not ‘poor’, listen hard-the speed of sound extends the time before you will hear a tolling bell…

          May we all find a better day.

    • sunny129 says:

      Well reflected if one look at the charts consumer spending – XRT & XLY!

    • Stuart says:

      Put the Capitalists where they belong. Capitalism did this to us. They cannot fix it. Every 7 to 10 years another crisis. Why do people tolerate this insanity ?

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        Don’t you know? 70% of people in this country think that they will belong to the top 10%.

      • No Expert says:

        A quick look at the last 200 yrs shows they/we do not tolerate it, many battles have been waged, many lives lost. Capitalism was and is enforced by violence (that the origin and nature of the nation state). As Monkeybusiness points out propaganda has bought the capitalist class a generation or so but does nothing to cure the disease and will not work forever.

        On the bright side the system is weaker than we knew, one relatively short de-facto general strike thanks to covid19 has pulled back the curtain. Capital has been eating its tail for years. Time is on our side.

        • Stephen C. says:

          It’s my reading of history that any system or state was/is maintained by violence.

          I would love to find a place to live that didn’t, didn’t feel the need to.

      • Paul Zegan says:

        It’s not capitalism that’s the problem. Like most things out of balance discussed on this site. It’s corrupt and sinful man. What we are trying to live through isn’t really capitalism anyway. Can’t even call it a hybrid with credit being what it is….

        • paul easton says:

          O now I get it. I am the problem. I am a sinner. I am so sorry. Please forgive me. I couldn’t help it.

      • Jdog says:

        It is not capitalism that is the culprit, it is the socialism that has permeated capitalism.
        Corporations are socialist, not capitalist. The Federal Reserve is socialist, not capitalist. Government intervention in the economy and markets is socialist, not capitalist.
        Free markets work, it is when government is allowed to interfere with the free market that feudalism begins to make the working class subservient to the financiers….

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Jdog-‘…a WELL-REGULATED free market…’ said Smith. Laissez-faire always degenerates to the basest of human impulses, true in the 1890’s, true today…

          again, may we all find a better day.

      • sierra7 says:

        Gore Vidal had the answer:
        “United States of Amnesia!”

      • Happy1 says:

        I know, why don’t we all move to Venezuela or North Korea! No 7 year economic cycle there, just starvation and repression!

    • A Capitalist says:

      You seem a bit slow about how supply and demand works. If people don’t buy stuff, we don’t have demand and the economy collapse.

      • fajensen says:

        Stock markets go up regardless. That’s all that matters.!!

        The USSR definitely dominated in the production of left-foot shoes in one size only, while we sophisticated folks dominate in the presenting of ever higher numbers on the ticker.

  4. Crush The Peasants! says:

    Meanwhile, the Washington State Employment Security(!) Department, headed up by a Democrat National Committee fundraiser with zero relevant experience, was able to give out millions of dollars to Nigerian scammers, but was not so good at processing legitimate claims. Ironically, this person was appointed to the plum job by former Democrat presidential candidate Jay (Don’t Call Me Dimsley) Inslee, who has taken zero responsibility for this fiasco, whilst constantly criticizing Kommandant Trump for taking zero responsibility for his fiascos.

    • Just Some Random Guy says:

      Had that happened in Texas or Florida, you’d have heard about this story 24/7 on the news, twitter, etc for weeks on end. But it happened in WA so it’s like it never happened as far as the national media is concerned. It got a day or two worth of coverage locally then down the memory hole it went never to be seen again.

      • makruger says:

        The fraudsters most likely picked Washington state due to their high wages and an increased likelihood of getting much larger UI payouts compared to lower wage states such as Texas or Florida.

        • polecat says:

          Ah! … It’s good to be a Prince!

          Yeah, Inslee .. er.. ‘Capt’n Enviro’

          Well, under his watch, many have found their personal environment found wanting – CHOPed down & CHAZened, as it were ..

    • TXRancher says:

      Maryland officials have uncovered a “massive” identity-theft scheme involving more than 47,500 bogus unemployment claims worth roughly $501 million, GOP Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday.

      “This criminal enterprise seeking to take advantage of a global pandemic to steal hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars from taxpayers is despicable,” said Hogan, according to the Baltimore Sun

    • OutWest says:

      “was able to give out millions of dollars to Nigerian scammers”

      It was stolen fraudulently.

  5. jeffrey says:

    Fortunately we should see stock market highs the worse this gets which is a silver lining.

  6. Michael Jones says:

    Unemployment system is total bs. My wife, w2 earner and I, self employed, both were denied twice. She was furloughed for nearly 3 months and I was dramatically impacted.

    Don’t know how things will end up but I do believe the vast majority of people that have been slighted by the government will result in a mass under reporting of income from here on out.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      You are Key Rect MJ,,, and to be sure the UE system in every one of the states, FL,CA,OR,FL again, AL,TN that I have worked in over the last 50 years or so have been ”cooking the books” the whole time…
      States, other than CA, do NOT want anyone to claim UE because it just might tell the tale about how dismal that state appears to be,,, mostly because all the other states are lying though their teeth,,, doing each and everything possible to deny UE to anyone they are able to deny…
      That, along with the perpetual lies of the BLS, DOL, and all the other fed agencies that could and should provide at least enough support for out of work people who WANT to work is, IMHO, the worst shame of USA,,, among so many shames, eh

      • greg reagan says:

        wolf, love to read your sight. i try not to post , but if i let others share their opinions and never offer mine, i feel a little selfish. i would like to know if you could share some light on how many are still active in the employment numbers. my 4 children have continued to work during our sequester. 2 were considered needed, 2 working from home. my two older sons can not even name one person they know that had or has had covid19 and they go to work everyday. were talking upstate ny

    • I was denied PUA too. Based on what, they don’t specify. Some misstep in their clear-as-sewage forms, I guess. I dare say that NO state is caught up with claims, let alone appeals. I still can’t even reach them and recently got a mass email asking people to stop calling them unless absolutely necessary, so that new filers can get through.

      • Wolf Richter says:


        You’re Exhibit A of why we won’t know the true extent of unemployment claims for a while. This is such a massive clusterf**k. No one was prepared for it when it hit, and part of it remains in chaos.

        In addition, there are horror stories out there of people getting approved but the money is not arriving and people can’t get through to the call centers, and if they can get through, the don’t get the problem resolved, and they continue to wait for their money.

        • Just Some Random Guy says:


          If I understand you correctly, what you’re saying is when the govt tries to run something complicated it screws things up. It’s almost as if we shouldn’t let govt run much. There’s a thought….

        • sierra7 says:

          Mr. Richter and others:
          And yet, in my family experience; 35 year business in Sillycon V. had absolutely no problem in filing for and receiving the initial small business assistance……payroll etc.
          It has helped them enormously to bridge the gap between “what happened?” and “how can we now plan for the future”……which is very shady even for them.
          But they remain positive even with a 50% drop in business and the ability to keep their small office/field tecchie staff employed.
          Also have grandchildren and great grandchildren who eagerly sought work (and found) even while receiving the $600 which they either banked or used to pay off small debts.
          I do foresee a very negative situation when the assistance terminates end of this month. The reality will be a bit great to say the least.
          I also believe the fed/state governments will be forced to extend a modicum of $$ assistance like the $600 but maybe only 1/2 of that sum. They will have to do something.
          They (state/fed) can’t “mandate” the closing of businesses and then let them all fall into an abyss.
          Anecdotal tale:
          Had to go to Modesto for blood work Thursday (70 mile trip along CA120 then 120/108) and witnessed more traffic than I had ever seen in my 20 years up in the foothills of the Sierras.
          Visit to blood lab was very efficient; greeted with taking of temp; hand sanitizing; (already was masked before entering). Building was virtually empty (two stories loaded normally with physicians/lab/pharma/……in and out in less than ten minutes. Asked the lab worker how things were going and she/he replied: ” Very quiet here; at the main hospital is was “chaos”……..Was glad to get back home…….in the mountains!
          Stay safe and healthy…….

    • Tony22 says:

      How about just going on a tax strike? Refuse to file any paperwork at the state and federal level; unless the government owes you a refund.

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        I have payed Federal estimated income taxes for years – estimates quite close to actual taxes. This time (2019 tax year) my estimation was way high, because of the new tax law.

        I snail-mailed in my tax return in February and an IRS taxpayer “service” person could not lately tell me whether they got it, or not.

        When I suggested it might be lost in the mail and I should submit a duplicate, she said “Don’t do that – we may have it and if we do, the duplicate will delay things. We’re very short-handed now – just wait for things to settle down a little”.

        Wonder how long? It’s been five months, so far …

        • NY Geezer says:

          By certified mail return receipt requested, I filed my 1040 on March 4, 2020. I tracked the certified mail PO number and found that the mailed item was delivered to the IRS on March 16th. On July 1st I belatedly received the return receipt in the mail. My 2019 1040 is still not processed. I sent the IRS a duplicate original of my 1040 with a covering letter explaining that I feared the return I mailed in March must be lost since they have not processed it. The only good thing here is the IRS owes me 5% interest compounded daily from 4/15/2020 on my refund.

        • Ed says:

          The IRS budget has been cut repeatedly the last 20 or 30 years. They are doing record low audits of high earners.

          This is madness. The notion that other people are not paying can turn a country into Greece, where no one pays.

          And, if you pay, like me, you are labeled a fool.

        • Andrei says:

          Use electronic filing. It’s free and you will get your return very quickly. I’ve done it for 2 years already and very satisfied.

        • sierra7 says:

          RD Blakeslee:
          I too filed my taxes (refund) first week of April; not refund as of yet.
          IRS site: “Where’s my refund” (browser search) brings up the site; input SS + amount of refund and got back screen response of “input error”…….go figure! I think they are just gagging on work or monstrously short handed.
          Will wait another month and then might call…..dread doing that!

        • Happy1 says:

          You should never ever overpay on your taxes. People who get a refund are not thinking clearly. Only exception would be if you have variable income, but my income varies and I always adjust by quarter and underpay. Why would you let the government keep your money like that?

    • Paul says:

      Self-employed do not pay unemployment insurance.


  7. David Hall says:

    Both CNBC and the Washington Post are reporting lower numbers than you today. Am not sure how you calculated. I subscribe to the Washington Post. CNBC has no paywall.


    • Wolf Richter says:

      David Hall,

      I you had read my article, you would know the answer.

      CNBC only read the first paragraph of the press release.

      All my numbers are from the same Labor Department press release, but you have to go ALL THE WAY DOWN to paragraph #5 to get the total 32 million or to the summary table even further down.

      And the lazy-ass reporters cannot be bothered to read that far. For example, the lazy-ass CNBC article you linked only put the STATE claims in the headlines, not the federal claims — but the federal PUA claims alone are 14.3 million. The DOL adds the state and federal claims, but puts the total in paragraph 5. That’s the total of 32 million. CNBC’s lazy-ass reporter never read that far.

      The lazy-ass reporters who have to write up their articles in 30 minutes don’t read beyond the first paragraph. They only get a small part of the whole report.

      Granted, the report is not well structured. It puts some confusing details up to the top, for headline material, and then totals appear in Paragraph 5, below four charts. In addition, the totals appear in greater detail in a summary table WAY DOWN in the report. Lazy-ass reporters never go that far.

      OK, the press release is many pages, and it takes a while to work through, and it’s not easy to write up in 30 minutes. But the reporting on these numbers is utterly lazy and shitty.

      In addition, on the weekly initial claims only, they may be reporting “seasonally adjusted” numbers, and I report “not seasonally adjusted” numbers (both are in the report) because the seasonal adjustment exaggerated the claims early on and showed that these adjustments were not designed for this kind of crisis. They’re designed for normal times. So I report the actual data, not adjusted data, as I explained in the article.

      Next week, when the new data comes out, I’m going to write an article about this misreporting issue in the media, and I’m going to hold the lazy-ass reporters’ feet to the fire and I’m going to call out their publications.

      I’m getting tired of this braindead crap. And I’m getting tired of people posting this braindead crap into the comments, making me waste my time responding to braindead crap.

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        If kitten will do cheerleader high-kick cartoon for that coming report, I’ll volunteer for the “old white male” at the end of the line.

        Tell her to draw me kicking really high …

      • Implicit says:

        Tell us how you really feel! ha ha
        The sad part is that many people believe the 2 bit faulty headline numbers.
        Looking forward to that article.

      • Lance Manly says:

        So, what happens on August 7th. At some point the BLS is going to have to admit their survey numbers do not line up with the real numbers being put out by the states to the DOL.

      • MCH says:


        Mr. Richter,

        Please kindly return to your lane, and refrain from criticizing our hard working main stream media. Remember, with so many human interest stories to tell, the main stream media really can’t be bothered to dive into the nuances of numbers and report. (also because we might not know what they mean, or how to read) It is more important that the people need to know about the freedom fighters and the purveyors of justice that are out there daily, marching and protesting for freedom, justice, and equal rights.

        • kitten lopez says:

          i know – this side of Wolf chokes me the hell up, because this is what i saw in him from jump. i’m even tearing up because… well need i explain???


      • rhodium says:

        You’re not unappreciated Wolf. Thank you for what you do.

      • bungee says:

        haha. that is why we’re here and not at mainstream garbage. thanks for the real picture Wolf

      • Double Bluff says:

        Reporters would no doubt like more time but they have to be first or they’re out. Clicks you know.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Double Bluff,

          Yes, I totally get that, and that’s part of the problem. I published my articles several hours after the data came out. But the CNBC reporter sits in a government room with other reporters who get the data at 8 am, half an hour before it’s released. In that half an hour, they can put their article together (much of it prewritten fill-in-the-blank). And at 8:30 am they send the article to their offices where someone publishes the thing minutes after the data is publicly released. I take hours to dig into this stuff and write my articles. I’m definitely not the first out the gate to publish it.

      • John Doe says:

        As someone who works for a mainstream finance publication, I can confirm that your characterization is 100% correct.

      • tommy runner says:

        ‘CNBC has no paywall’ ..so that’s not where the change went.

  8. Endeavor says:

    One US mint closed permanently last year and another on a temporary basis due to the virus. Maybe the cause of shortage.

    Most employers take advantage of a downturn to trim dead weight. They may be even more zealous at this time. Add that to the closures and changing economic behavior on the part of consumers and you have our present predicament. I may be wrong, but I read that we have carried forward a 6% output deficit despite growth from the 08 mess. What will that grow to in the future?

  9. Beardawg says:

    Anecdotal for sure, but as a full time Musician, I collect the AZ minimum ($117/WK) + the PUA $600/WK. All my performances cancelled since March and not likely anything will open up by year’s end.

    The $3000/Mo+/- has been a Godsend. PUA goes away in 2 weeks, then $117/WK, presumably until year’s end.

    At least the down time allowed me to spend all my UE $$$ to formulate 2 new Tribute Bands !! Now….just need the gigs. :-(

    • KamikazeShaman says:

      I hope you can pull through. I just read a great article about music venues trying to survive through all of this.

      Check it out… Robert Mercurio (bassist from galactic and part owner of the NOLA mainstay Tipitinas). It provides great perspective into the plight of a performer and venue owner.


      I’m a bassist myself and I’m dying to play a gig! What tribute projects have you cooked up?

    • BuySome says:

      Were your gigs scratched due to traveller collapse, or more to localized containment actions? In other words, what’s the mix of audience or demand here?

    • Wolf Richter says:


      The $600/week extra is not PUA. That’s the federal supplement that you and everyone else gets with your state unemployment benefits. And the PUA doesn’t go away. What goes away is the $600/week supplement that you’re getting.

      • Caticorn says:

        It’s called PUC = pandemic unemployment compensation. I have been on furlough since March 16th and with covid going exponential here in Florida, looks like it won’t change until there’s a vaccine. Gyms are too dangerous, so I teach on zoom. Works for me.

    • roddy6667 says:

      Maybe you could teach musical instrument lessons on Skype or Zoom.

  10. timbers says:

    Covid joke making the rounds:

    Q: What borders on stupidity?
    A: Canada and Mexico.

    Unfortunately there is some truth to it.

    • Don says:

      Good one.

      • Shiloh1 says:

        The nursing home residents would be better off if the Cubs had all day games again on free TV.

    • Shiloh1 says:

      The U.S. Government isn’t stupid; it’s owned and run by a Kleptocracy. Big difference.

      I get a kick out of Mish saying “they’re fools!” about the Fed, too, for the past 13 years or so.

    • Jdog says:

      The thing that truly worries me, are not the issues that are facing, but the way our population is reacting to those issues.
      I am seeing disturbing neurosis on both sides of the political spectrum. There seems to be an alarming number of people who simply refuse to face reality and facts about the problems facing us based solely on political position.
      Politicians are basically prostitutes, and they will pander to whatever position they believe will get them the largest number of votes. When the people become neurotic and demand the government act in ways that support their neurosis, then we have a very serious situation, and one that cannot turn out well.
      Wolf’s forum seems one of the few refuges left where common sense is valued and encouraged. Undoubtedly because of Wolf’s inteligent moderation…

      • Shane says:


        “Politicians are basically prostitutes…”

        I take exception to that comment. Prostitutes often have professional integrity and a sense of ethics. Stop carelessly slandering hard working prostitutes.

        Now, if you had said, “Politicians are basically intestinal parasites”, I would have supported the comment and believed everything you said in the remainder of the letter.

    • Happy1 says:

      You think Mexico is doing better? Ha ha…

  11. KurtZ says:

    We are going back to 1995 – demand, employment, everything. Can we manage that deflationary crash? Doubt it.

    The fake money derivative pyramid, that is the American empire of 21st century, is based on oil prices and commercial real estate valuations.

    When they break, probably after the election, watch out below.

  12. Lisa_Hooker says:

    One man’s unemployment is another man’s sabbatical, an opportunity to become very very skilled at Grand Theft Auto XXVI. Perhaps not the best thing in the long run.

  13. KamikazeShaman says:

    I feel like the confluence of the PPP program ending this summer/fall (which keeps people “artificially employed”) and the reduction/tapering off of enhanced UI benefits is when things really start to hit the fan. More collapse in terms of unemployment and less gov’t $$$ to support them.

    Job openings are down 23% compared to last year and good paying jobs are even more scarce. It’s a harsh environment unless you can survive off of $10/hr at Walmart.

    I’m not an economic scholar, but if you take this helicopter money away right now it is going to send shockwaves through almost every sector of an already fragile economy. I hate to admit that because I do consider myself a fiscal conservative. It’s how I live my life.

    A lot of industries are being held hostage due to the governments “cytokine” over-reaction to a virus that 99.9 percent of healthy working age people will survive. Live events, restaurants, airlines, hotels/rentals, musicians, performers… all held hostage.

    On another note…

    I would like to see some mortality numbers for just the the healthy, working age population of the US. Remove the nursing home mortality figures, deaths over age 65 as well as deaths with comorbidities.

    That would reveal the mortality rate of the healthy working age population and I think people would be shocked to see we have shut down the entire planet instead of focusing on protecting those who are most vulnerable.

    Nothing will improve until the world is 100% opened back up. if you are over 65, in a nursing home or have Asthma/diabetes etc. – stay home! End the hostage situation for all the other people willing to live with an extremely small chance of being harmed.

    Can we really run trillion dollar deficits every month until this happens?

    We need a vaccine for fear in order to accomplish that goal. Inoculate it.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      Sure. Look at the positive side. If we lose a large percentage of the “over 65, in a nursing home or have Asthma/diabetes etc.” it should be very helpful to our under financed pensions and Social Security System. “Never let a crisis go to waste,” as our politicians say.

      • KamikazeShaman says:

        They are the only demographic overwhelmingly impacted by it. That’s one of the only real facts I’ve been able to glean in a sea of BS numbers and health recommendations. Plenty of doublethink, wrongthink baked into the whole bit.

        Still not going to mend the SS/Pension quagmire. Official death count in the US is 138k out of a population of 330m. That means that 0.0004% have died and 99.99958% are still waiting…

        And trust me, this crisis/opportunity is certainly not “going to waste”.

        Big Brother loves you.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Actually the tally would be 0.04% of 330 million, not 0.0004%. The real target market is the 53 million that are 65+, which would be around 0.26% if most were 65+ (I can’t find any stats on death by age group). No worries, we’re still increasing, albeit slower. Figure for every 65 year old lost that’s ~240+ months of monthly payments eliminated. The next best thing to positive cash flow is reducing negative cash flow.

        • RD Blakeslee says:

          Some of us oldsters have long ago realized that our survival is up to us in circumstances like the present, have isolated ourselves and will stay that way, indefinitely.

          Unfortunately, for purposes of the tenor of this thread, we will continue to be money sinks.

        • KamikazeShaman says:

          Lisa, what’s 135,000 deaths divided by 330,000,000 people in the US?


          That’s our total mortality number. For the entire population of this country. And we are spending a trillion dollars a month because of it.

          How much longer can this go on until we come to terms that this virus is here as we have to live with it.

          Just asking. Just curious.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          You’re forgetting the time factor. It’s 135,000 deaths in FOUR MONTHS – not a lifetime. And it’s now taking off again.

          And those deaths are occurring not spread out equally, but in a few hot spots, where the local damage is huge. These hot spots are what the country should try to prevent.

          I agree, shutting down an economy is not sustainable. But wear the friggin’ masks, practice physical distancing, and don’t do anything stupid, like attending “Covid parties.” That’ll solve a big part of the problem.

        • Saltcreep says:

          KamikazeShaman, in New York City one person out of every five hundred has now died from Covid-19 in a short time period. And that only includes laboratory confirmed cases. If we include the cases where Covid-19 is reported as the probable cause we’re at more like one in four hundred. It’s not a trivial disease. Nevermind all the stuff we still don’t know about duration/strength if immunity, long term effects, potential mutations, new waves etc.

          In this whole saga what I find most upsetting is the arrogance we confront it with. When faced with something like this, that is new and unknown, we should first and foremost exhibit great humility.

        • Dave says:

          Hold on, Hold on, Hold on! 1) The reporters are lazy, 2) NAR lies about housing numbers all the time 3) Wall Street and Corporations cook the books and the numbers too often 4) The Government lies to us too often.

          Can the Corona/Wuhan/Covid numbers be believed? Think about it. Maybe it’s less or maybe it’s more. We live in a world fraught with fraud so the numbers could be suspect.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Lisa, what’s 135,000 deaths divided by 330,000,000 people in the US?


          That’s the ratio. To show it as a percentage you must multiply by 100. E.G. 0.01 == 1%.

      • Jeremy Wolff says:

        I think KamikazeShaman meant that we could spend a good amount of money funding ways to protect at-risk people instead of doing quarantine. There is actually a lot of logic to it. Instead of spending trillions on shutting down the economy and paying unemployment, we could spend hundreds of billions on creating quarantine hotels for at-risk people and paying them unemployment and benefits to stay home. Not sure if it is a better solution but I don’t see why it doesn’t deserve some thought. When the kids are sick, we have them stay home, right? We don’t have the whole school shut down and have everyone stay home.

        • Harrold says:

          That is a great plan, but unfortunately, that would have required leadership at the Federal level.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          I agree. Please send me more money. ;-)

        • KamikazeShaman says:

          Thank you Jeremy – you are the one commenter on this forum that understands what I was getting at. Without irrational judgement ta boot.

          We need to try a new approach to the situation because this sisyphean struggle isn’t getting us any further to a global/local health or economic recovery.

          Full stop. Change course.

          Or the boulder rolls back down again and again…

        • Cookdoggie says:

          “When the kids are sick, we have them stay home, right? We don’t have the whole school shut down and have everyone stay home.”

          True. In my town, we only shut down the whole school and have everyone stay home when there’s at least a 20% chance of 2″ of snow.

    • Marc 60 says:


      I’m not sure if you are senile or delusional but if you really think only 0.01% are at risk from Covid your are clearly not of sound mind. Its the idiotic reasoning and posts like yours that has the idiots running through the streets and fuelling not the second wave but still this first wave.
      Seriously do some solid research away from Conspiracy theory news sites and realise that its not just the demographic you think that suffer or are at risk. Also awaken to the fact that many that had mild symptoms are now facing long term health issues.

      Unless of course all you care about is the money Ponzi scheme and how much they say your house is worth in which case carry on and attend as many places as you can without a mask and do it as soon as you can and let Darwin prove you a winner of his award.

      • Harrold says:

        There is anecdotal evidence that the effects the second time around are much more severe.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      I get the daily updates from Los Angeles. There is a tidbit you should know: now over half the people in the hospital with Covid are UNDER 40.

      And if EVERYONE wore a face mask in public when within 30 feet of other people, and if EVERYONE tried to stay away from others by at least 6 feet even while wearing a mask, and if people didn’t go to mass-spreader events (crowded bars, etc.), there would be no reason to shut down the economy.

      It’s not complicated. But the basic solutions have been politicized in the US and have been turned into a toxic stew. So lots more people will die, and lots more people who survive will have to live with permanent health issues that result from it – of all ages.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Many of these mask-free people only pay for vehicle and home insurance because they are forced to by their mortgage note or government edict. The suggested behavior is the cheapest insurance they will ever see. Long range thinking is not strong in these folk.

        • Shiloh1 says:

          Was in my teens in the 70s, twenties in the 80s. Paraphrasing Mickey Mantle, I would never had believed I’d make it this far.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          While we are definitely in the group that only buys auto/truck insurance because we must, we have been practicing our best known procedures for avoiding any virus since late Jan, after reading first reports in SCMP at that time.
          So, please do not generalize on the basis of ”insurance”…
          Amish have no insurances at all, but practice ”proactive community” and that, IMHO, is the best insurance of all!
          Only thing close is to maintain as high a degree of liquidity as possible for your situation; current goal is to find out the name of the Rye first experienced at a wine tasting at Holdrens in Newbury Park in fall16… OMG,,, if I have to go, and, of course, being born, I do have to go,,, I hope it will be full of that particular liquidity!!

      • KamikazeShaman says:

        Appreciate the response.

        “And if EVERYONE wore a face mask in public when within 30 feet of other people, and if EVERYONE tried to stay away from others by at least 6 feet even while wearing a mask, and if people didn’t go to mass-spreader events (crowded bars, etc.), there would be no reason to shut down the economy.“

        A utopian vision ^^^
        Could have written this under the pen name “Karen Mao”.

        Not even really disagreeing with you, but that is what a large percentage of Americans believe. Some call it faux news brainwashed and some call it woke. It’s been tainted into an us vs them mentality.

        It’s not complicated. America will never comply in a unified (masked and distanced manner) for a multitude of reasons. We just won’t. We are broken at a core level.

        The quicker we learn to live with covid-19 and adapt to a new approach the better. Protect the at risk population (At all costs) and let the rest of us (who are much less at risk) gain the collective courage to move forward. It has to happen at some point and we need to try something new if there is to be any type of recovery of our lifestyles and livelihoods. What has been going on is an abject failure.

        It’s sick that we are so politically, racially, economically and bitterly divided that we allow ourselves to descend even further.

        • Bobber says:

          I think that view is idealistic.

          Young people are fun loving social animals, on the lookout for a relationship (however you define it ), and that’s why they violate the six foot rule with friends, at parties, etc. They will continue to do so.

          Others with low willpower find the masks too hot and uncomfortable. Is this surprising given the large number of us who shun minor inconveniences and succumb to indulgences on a continual basis?

          It’s a losing battle. You’ll have to hole up if you are at risk or otherwise afraid of the virus. No use in getting mad or frustrated with others, because you won’t change them. Accept it and adjust your own behavior accordingly.

      • Jdog says:

        Couple more points..

        1. Obesity is the #1 reason for complications for people with COVID 70% of Americans are overweight.

        2. The major threat from COVID is not death, it is permanent health problems caused by the complications, caused by COVID

        • Petunia says:

          Sitting at home isn’t making anybody any thinner, unless you take away their income, unemployment, and savings.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          jpup and Pet,
          RIGHT ARM!!!
          Who the hell cares if they die when age 75 plus,,, but we really do NOT want to be any more of a burden to anyone ”on the way”, eh?
          Just another reason that I have dedicated my ”stimulus” $$$ to buying the best liquidity position possible…
          Running out of my fave wines,,, I am now looking for my fave booze(s) of the past 50 years or so,,, hoping to have enough liquidity on hand to tide me over the river Styx when it comes to that,,,
          or at least have a ton of fun with it on the way there, eh
          And, to be clear, with NASA updating the zodiac yesterday along with explaining how the old old folks screwed it up due to laziness, some of us, me included, are now some other ”sign” and have to change our life styles accordingly, including in some cases vastly increasing our liquidity position!!!

    • Wolf Richter says:


      “Remove the nursing home mortality figures, deaths over age 65 as well as deaths with comorbidities.”

      OK, I know where you’re going with this, which is now often spouted off, that Covid is no big deal … because it only kills people who are older, have high blood pressure, or dark skin.

      That’s a heinous way of thinking.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        As are my heinous posts on pensions and Social Security. I hope they are taken as the black humor they are meant to be.

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        I agree, Wolf, but your observation falls on deaf ears. Rational Folks, isolate yourself to the extent necessary and watch the rest of the world march to its drummer, until “ashes, ashes, they all fall down”.

      • KamikazeShaman says:

        Wow, that’s a really bad read of what I’m trying to say. I don’t feel that way one bit. Judgements aside…

        I just want to see the mortality stats for everyone that’s had this disease and has been documented as under 65, healthy (no copd, diabetes etc.) and not in a nursing home.

        This is the school age and working age demographic. This is what needs to get moving to get the economic gears turning once again.

        What else is going to turn this nosedive around?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          OK, apologies.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Unfortunately KS, ”everyone that’s had this disease and has been documented as under 65, healthy (no copd, diabetes etc.) and not in a nursing home.”” is absolutely NOT the school age and working age demographic in USA these days.
          While I do not know the actual statistics, what I do know is that almost every one of the people of all ages, etc., that I have worked with, lived with, and socialized with in the last few decades have had one or more fairly serious health problems, and most of them more than one.
          I suspect it has to do with a very simple metric, how many miles walked a day. Compared with folks even just one hundred years ago, not to mention the last couple of thousand years to which our species has adapted, that number is absurd, and the health challenges reflect it very well.
          Diet, of course, is also one part of the causative factors.

        • Jdog says:

          The problem is the mortality and complication stats are not really well understood by anyone yet. This thing effects certain blood types more than others, in some people it drives their immune systems crazy what is called a cytokine storm in which the immune system attacks the patient.
          In a normal flu, blood platelets are reduced causing blood thinning but with Covid, blood platelets are greatly increased causing blood clots which result in organ damage, brain damage, strokes, and heart attack.
          The majority of the people being hospitalized by the virus now are under 40.
          If you are sick enough to be hospitalized, there is a pretty good chance you will have complications such as organ damage, or possible brain damage. Bottom line is you really want to avoid getting this.

      • MCH says:

        Don’t know if I’d read into that one, Wolf.

        There are legitimate questions that should be asked. C19 is a big deal, to those who say that it isn’t, just look at the damage it has caused already, and it isn’t nearly as devastating as SARS or MERS in terms of lethality.

        Having said that, good data is actually needed here, what it feels like is that the data we have is incomplete. I was driving this morning and listening to KQED, and they had a guest science journalist from the Atlantic, and any time that there was a very substantive question, the answer became dodgy and evasive, it felt like a lot of hand waving and then pointing back to science and data. Which seems to be a very default way of saying we don’t have a clue.

        The problem is, those clever answers aren’t very clever, and when people hear BS, it forces them to insert their own judgement, even when it is wrong. (see wearing mask 101)

        Imagine if we had a rational message that went out, one that came clean about the earlier mistakes, and was a little more focused on the unknowns associated, because there were, and still are a bunch of unknowns.

        Instead, the blatant flip flops around C19 has happened so much (based on “experts” and “scientists”) from the WHO to the CDC, is it any wonder why people do not believe the experts? Remember what the trusted Fauci said about masks back in February. People tend to remember when someone screw up, and then try to cover things up later on, they are more forgiving if the person in charge is honest of their mistakes.

        • KamikazeShaman says:

          I completely agree.

          This is a great explanation of how this issue became politicized in the first place.

          Don’t talk politics, religion and now… covid. At least not with friends/family (that you want to keep).

        • DeerInHeadlights says:

          I think people are entitled to their opinions, as long as their reasoning and the data they back it up with are valid. I am also sick and tired of people telling me what I can and cannot say because “science” says ‘x’. Which science? The one that is joined at the hip with Big Pharma, peddling barely effective treatments for $$$ (remdesivir)? The one which propels people doing such science with financial interests to positions of power in the government (Moderna CEO) and then expects them to make neutral, unbiased decisions in favor of the general public? The one where officials entrusted with giving us the best in medical advice refused to call this a pandemic even when it was clear to anyone but them that it was one (WHO)?

        • MCH says:


          Remdesivir is effective, it is I tell you because I have a vested interest. And 5% effective in a small percentage of critical patients is still effective.

          Moderna on the other hand is full of crap because I have puts on that thing. Vested interest… ?

          But seriously, you can look at history on vaccines and get an idea that it’s hard. Would I take a vaccine if one came out next year, don’t think so, considering how many people are pushing their research, I would guess corners are being cut somewhere. Now given my age group and looking at the patch work of info on C19 so far and how I go about my life, I would judge that it isn’t worth the risk until the vaccine is in the market for a few years. So the potential problems are wrung our. It might be different if I am ten or twenty years older, had a different life style, etc.

          One needs to remember the pharma industry has had stuff on the market for years before they get pulled. Hurt people in the process, clinical trials are pretty limited and very targeted for success. It happens, Vioxx being one.

        • Double Bluff says:

          It was the surgeon general who was most emphatic about not needing a mask. They always send the black guy out to tell the whoppers (Colin Powell)

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Thanks for the note on Vioxx. I still keep a physician’s sample box of Vioxx (given to me by my GP) on my bathroom counter as a constant reminder about the FDA. I told my GP don’t give me a drug that’s not 20 years old. Unless I’m in the ER. Clot busters work.

        • MCH says:

          @ Lisa

          Yup, there is some very effective stuff out there that are truly miracles, take a look at the maker of remdesivir, they came out with the cure for Hep C for all practical purposes (ok, technically, they bought a company that started it, but they were smart enough to see the potential when very few people had), and people whined and complained about the starting cost. Sure, they had a right to do that, but the flip side was two things people forgot about or just downplayed in an effort to gin up their narrative about evil pharmas.

          1. where there is great profit, there will be great competition, and sure enough, five years on from the miracle cure, Gilead’s iterative drugs are no long the market leader, there are at least two other viable alternatives that is competing for market share.

          2. the effectiveness of that med cannot be understated, it took a disease type that was particularly devastating and basically made it a non-issue.

          But now the page is flipped the other way, the media is touting the effectiveness of remdesivir when it is pretty much a drug that is used in a very specific situation with limited effectiveness. It’s odd how the same bozos are talking about looking at the science and the data, and they effectively ignore it when it’s inconvenient.

          Then, there is this vaccine, the idiotic media has gotten around to hyping the stuff, and our leaders are actively hurting this. Sure, they say that the shortest time it took is four years, but if you listen carefully to how the questions are asked and answered, it always seem to have a political bent, it’s usually: “The Trump administration has said that …. and blah blah, and vaccine available in a year.” This kind of questioning is a joke, the answers are factual, but now it forces people to think about this stuff from a political perspective. The media is actively tipping the scale, and hurting, and they don’t even get it that they need to be unbiased purveyor of facts, and not a part of the peanut gallery.

          But going back to this vaccine, like I said, I wouldn’t trust this, considering how much billions are just being thrown at the problem, there is just so many reason for less than scrupulous companies to try to cash in for the sole purpose of pumping up their stock. I wouldn’t have minded a moratorium on stock trading the second those company tossed their hat into the C19 vaccine ring until they came up with a solution or withdrew from the ring. No secondary placements, no fund raising, etc, only government money, and the pricing is set by the government on sale, yeah, it’s not right, but neither is trying to cash in on a combination of government stupidity and fear.

          Finally, going back to my original comment on this particular vaccine, and that comes from how I view my personal situation, I may have a different take if I were older. There is also this recent mix in of SJ on vaccine, saying that it should be given to the people of color first. It sounds really good on TV, but yeah, let’s just introduce another political component into science and health care. And given the history of medicine around this particular subject, you can understand why this rush through science combined with feelgood statements would be mistrusted.

          Anyway, off my soapbox, and back to the peanut gallery.

  14. Mean Chicken says:

    Defund police and deny other services rather than admit bankruptcy, perhaps?

  15. Willy2 says:

    – I looked today at our (US) Trade Deficit for the month of May and it doesn’t look good. Calculated Risk Always has some good charts.
    – Exports were down YOY by some 32% and at the lowest level since say mid 2010.
    – Imports were down YOY by some 25% and at the level of say january 2010.
    – But the Trade Deficit actually increased because Exports fell more than Imports.
    – Ouch & OMG.


  16. Brant Lee says:

    The virus is causing some wild swings in construction materials availability and jobs. I stopped at two different home centers this morning and both were out of the common sized lumber I needed. They couldn’t say when deliveries could be expected.
    The commodity lumber 1000 board ft has swung wildly this year from a low of $260 in April, peaking at $600 to now $523. I’m thinking the sawmill output was slowed down in April because companies figured for slower house building. But the home centers have actually over-performed unlike most businesses, so we now have a supply crunch, thus higher prices.
    The real problem will be that supplies that only come from China may have also been under ordered causing shortages to come. This will cause low supply and higher prices because of the longer turn around time from China. A lot of areas of supply for business may experience this.

    • Paulo says:

      Logging going full bore and flat out in BC which supplies 27% of the US market. If worried about your price, then ask for the softwood lumber lumber tariffs to be reduced. We currently cut 2 billion BF per year in BC, but the tariffs have destroyed our sawmilling industry in order to prop up inefficient US operations. As Covid infections continues to drop on this side of the border expect a curtailment of raw log exports to the US market. This trend has declined for now in order to maintain as much employment as possible.

      Where I live our largest employer is cutting 2 million bfm this year alone, with the dryland sort running 2 shifts 7 days per week in order to process volume. A large tow leaves every second day.

      Like I said, if prices are a problem then reduce the tariffs. After all, tariffs are paid by the consumer in the end.

      • Jdog says:

        I went to my local big box home store last week to get some wood stain. The shelves were bare except for about 5 cans… usual stock would be probably 100, it was weird. Do we make wood stain in China now too?
        It seems like almost nothing from China is coming in.
        I have had a freezer on order for months, and they cannot even tell me when to expect it…

        • sierra7 says:

          Didn’t you get the word?
          At the last Davos meeting in a very, very secret caucus the “almighty” decided they must to escape any frivolous future rules of commerce immediately begin moving all global production to Alpha Centauri….
          Have a bit of patience.
          The supply line is a bit long.

      • MiTurn says:

        “but the tariffs have destroyed our sawmilling industry in order to prop up inefficient US operations.”

        I have no problem with that. US jobs are more important to me than Canadian ones. That being said, there is a lot of Canadian lumber at our local lumber store. I see trucks weekly making deliveries from BC. So something must be working.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Not quite the same as building supplies, but I ordered two pair of incontinence shorts (very good price) from China, through Amazon. Seller’s ad said they were the last two.

      They took six weeks to get here and there are no more to be had, but the seller sent three pairs. Goodwill gesture from the local communist party apparatus?

    • Gene says:

      There’s a guy who calls himself the “Uneducated Economist” on YouTube. Every couple of days, he puts out a new video. He’s employed (maybe part-time) in the lumber industry in Oregon. He talks a lot about shortages of 4X4s, 2X4s, pressure treated lumber, etc. He also talks about other more macro subjects, including the Fed and the IMF. He does most of his videos from the front seat of his 20 year old Toyota. In spite of his handle, he’s very well versed in economics. It seems to come to him naturally. He’s more informative than some of the CNBC reporters, IMO.

  17. Yertrippin says:

    Bill Ackerman was correct back on March 18th. A total 30 day shut down of all economic activity supported by federal funds for food and critical needs would have been our best shot at avoiding where we now find ourselves. Instead the systemic lack of critical thinking and avarice for making money every second of every day won. And now we will likely reap the apocalypse he warned of.

    We hardly understand this disease or it’s long term implications on the human body for all age groups. The fact people are actually arguing over something as obvious as the effectiveness of masks or whether sending millions of children back into schools would create a firestorm of spread indicates we will experience the maximum amount of pain. And deservedly so.

    You can’t ride a dead horse.

    • Jeremy Wolff says:

      But you can eat one!

      • Yertrippin says:

        The silver lining!

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        Or you can raffle it off.

        Don’t tell the buyers the horse is dead and you will only have to return the ticket price to the winner if he (she, it?) complains.

    • Frederick says:

      The apocalypse was coming regardless of COVID-19 This lockdown just accelerated it alittle Got Gold You should if you don’t and food and water supplies
      This is what happens when you allow psychopaths run your financial system Enjoy everybody

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        +1. Covid is just a time machine. America’s already rotten.

        • Jdog says:

          I was thinking it is more like a mirror, showing us just how stupid we are…..

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          It’s an exam given by nature. Some countries are passing and others are failing. Guess which bucket we belong to.

      • Yertrippin says:

        True indeed Fredrick. But I’ve no need to collect gold or food and water. You have already done that for me and/or some other desperate souls. /sarc

        I’ve often wonder how practical that gold/supply trading idea will work out to be in a total collapse. I assume not very well in many cases.

        I have friends abroad in very poor places. In the midst of a pandemic or economic collapse, they’ve assured me that if you are sitting on a pile of stuff surrounded by others without, there is only one answer and that is sharing. You become part of the community or you become a target. Human nature.

        But hey how about that stock market!

        • Saltcreep says:

          Yertrippin, perhaps you’re thinking in a little bit too binary a manner, then? If you permit yourself to allow for some imaginable scenarios somwhere between ‘Business as Usual’ and ‘Mad Max’, then it may seem prudent to some to insure against monetary disruptions or transitions that might occur without a concomitant collapse in civil and legal authority.

    • Paulo says:

      The solution is leadership and putting “doing the right thing” over politics and reelection. Our dreaded ‘socialist’ premier in BC is now enjoying a 68% approval rating due to letting the scientists take control of the pandemic response. The result is 10 new infections per day in a Province of 5 million people.

      Compared to a state like Mississippi, population 3.15 million, we have 10 new cases per day in BC. Miss had 1230 new cases, or 123 times as many; 195 times per capita. Or Florida, population 21.5 million has 15,000 new cases. Canada, pop 37 million had 220 total new cases. It’s not even worth crunching the numbers to compare.

      What does this mean in our daily lives here? Well, we don’t have to wear masks but most of us do as it is the right thing to do for our fellow citizens. 80% of our population want to make mask wearing mandatory, but it has not been necessary. Our stores are open, but no bars. My daughter teaches school and will be returning in Sept as the May test run was quite successful. If they say no large gatherings, we don’t have any. It’s all about leadership. or lack thereof.


      • Escierto says:

        You can’t compare Canada and the US. Canada is a nation of functioning adults governed by people who trust scientific experts. The US is a mutant freak show run by a psychopathic clown.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Sound as though it is the common sense of Canadians, despite their “leadership.”

      • KamikazeShaman says:

        Not leadership, just general compliance from an obedient population. People in America are shooting, stabbing and assaulting store employees over this mask compliance issue. That’s insane and just a glimpse into our collective national psyche- and makes my point that the US will never comply with the CDC recommendations. It’s become the new, sporty wedge issue for 2020.

        Us and Them. Great Pink Floyd tune…

        Unity… Collective national will… a sense of oneness with our fellow countrymen…

        This is something the good ol’ USA is lacking. And why we are the epicenter of this pandemic. A case of cognitive dissonance on a continental level.

      • Happy1 says:

        This has a whole lot more to do with societal compliance than it does with your government. Japan has done even better, and in a far more crowded and high risk environment, with almost no governmental edicts, just compliant people who are working toward the same common goal. The US just isn’t that country.

      • Cookdoggie says:

        Yes Paulo, however I wonder if we’re all on the same journey but at different speeds. Without a vaccine or herd immunity this virus continues to spread. You can delay it with compliant social distancing and masks, or you can get it over with by ignoring common sense. Many comments above throw shade on the hope of a trustworthy vaccine, so perhaps the US and others will just achieve herd immunity earlier. There seems to be a lot of faith placed in the ability to prevent virus spread until a vaccine is developed, but if that vaccine doesn’t come then what? I’d like to wait for the movie to end before critiquing the different countries.

    • Jdog says:

      I would be willing to bet that most Home builders are pulling out the stops on projects already in the works trying to get them completed and on the market ASAP..

  18. Harrold says:

    I love that conservatives have now turned pro-choice.

    About time.

  19. Just Some Random Guy says:

    Everything is bad and awful. And yet in June, new home sales were 55% HIGHER than June 2019.

    Which makes me think that things aren’t quite as bad and awful as people make them out to be.

    • Jdog says:

      I am still waiting for you to show me a time when unemployment hit 20% and housing did not crash… just once…

      • Young Buck says:

        Im with Jdog on this one.

        You can’t think the current housing market is rational in the least bit, unless you’re a realtor.

      • Cookdoggie says:

        Of course there aren’t any. But…the prior times unemployment hit 20% there wasn’t a $600/wk kicker, nor did contractors qualify for unemployment.

    • RightNYer says:

      Yes, home sales were higher in June because all of the April and May sales were backloaded. Also, the upper middle class professionals (myself included, so I’m not using it as an insult) still have our jobs, even though we’re working from home. A lot of those people are utterly clueless about the devastation that has taken place in the real economy.

      • Andrei says:

        My thoughts, exactly.

        In addition, I think there may be 2 other factors at play that triggered a decision for the people who was able and wanted to buy:
        – were not eager to pay too much to be close to work, but now are ready to go further because of WFH
        – may be afraid that because of all the trillions printed they will be priced out forever

    • Fat Chewer. says:

      Look man, get off the happy pills. What are you hoping to achieve here? You push this barrow of everything is alright every day. I know you aren’t brain dead that’s why you are here at Wolf Street. So what’s your story? Asking us to believe the sky is pink with purple polka dots ain’t working because we live in the real world. Its quite obvious that you are pushing the same political agenda that a certain POTUS pushes for his reelection. It’s over. Your fairy tale has flopped. It’s being pulped as we speak.

      Your ranga would be better off acknowledging the truth for once in his life. Yes it’s bad, but I can help make it better. The truth is a very underrated political weapon these days. Unfortunately for him, the truth is that he can’t make it better since he caused a fair chunk of this shit. Thus the bullshit narrative.

      Get with it man. This is political kids stuff. If you can’t get this right, you have no basis for reelection. You have four months but really, that’s not long enough for a groundswell of support to materialize. It needs to happen organically. Just going onto some website and telling us that everything is fine and dandy won’t work…I hope.

      Its actually really lazy to think that’s all you need to do to get elected. The people deserve better. Only a swamp fiend would think otherwise.

      • tom says:

        I live in the midwest, flyover country.
        I have no doubt their is a economic price to pay
        for this shutdown.

        Wolf should have my email address.
        You are more than welcome to travel to my
        area. Go business to business and ask how they are doing.
        Many of us are having a year that we have not seen since
        2007. Of course we know 2008 ushered in.

        Or stamp your feet, plug your ears,, and continue to scream that the end of the US is near.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          I still have lots of friends in Tulsa, where I spent a big part of my life. They all said kind of the same thing, life is normal, but now suddenly they have this big outbreak to deal with, and the no-face-mask governor got covid, and they all have to grapple with some things.

      • Phoenix_Ikki says:

        While it’s tempting but as they say don’t feel the troll, otherwise they come back for more just like pigeons.

  20. Jdog says:

    How can the government claim an 11% unemployment rate when 32 million is 20% of a 160 million workforce ? It seems as if they lie about everything, all the time….

  21. Helmut Beintner says:

    The Number of unemployed equals the total population of Canada !

    • MiTurn says:

      And three times Sweden! Your point?

      We could make also sorts of such comparisons.

  22. DR DOOM says:

    Confiscatory taxes are coming at us from every level of Govt. Voting won’t make a difference . Let’s hope that the Oligarch’s will let the presidential debates proceed to provide some entertainment.

    • Rcohn says:

      If deficits were a governing factor ,spending would have been a lot lower and your statement would be true . But since no one cares about deficits , then there is also no reason to raise taxes.
      Watch for the states and cities to be bailed out under Biden and for trillions to be paid as reparations

      • DR DOOM says:

        Rcohn : If you are correct, and you well may be, then de-basement will be the “tax”. I dont think we’ve finally found the elusive free lunch.

        • Rcohn says:

          That Sir is unfortunately a distinct and scary possibility and would mark the end of the US as we know it.

      • Jdog says:

        Fact is, the National Debt has to be serviced. Debt service before Covid accounted for about 20% of the Federal Budget. That number is obviously going way up. That leaves 2 options, either cut spending which I do not think ever happens, or raise revenue. Raising revenue means raising taxes. By the way they during the last depression they raised the top income tax rate to 90% and did not lower it until the 80’s. That was on top of confiscating all the gold by force at under market price.

  23. GotCollateral says:

    75% of SOFR transactions above IOER and nearly the same % yield more than the 3m UST…

    3 weeks in a row that HY cdx spreads ended the week higher… lets see if that remains true tomorrow for the 4th week…

  24. SharkEater says:

    Surveillance Capitalism is a book that explains why and how the tech industry will dominate all….
    Although most here think of themselves as savvy I would disagree as I once thought I was until I read this book. Could not finish as it was so dense but I got enough to know why FANG is dominant proof that most here are analog thinkers and the “analog game” is quickly coming to an end.
    Once the tech takeover is complete (with Trump, some delay, with Biden full speed ahead) all the games played here will no longer work….

    • Xabier says:

      It should not surprise: as Western Rome collapsed, the best jobs -lifetime employment and regular pay – were in the army and tax collection, which was greatly expanded in personnel as the screws were tightened.

      Authoritarianism and intense surveillance accompany the last stage of decadent states even at a simpler level of technology.

      As does rising crime, and the adoption of strange new gods and religions out of desperation.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Also restaurant eating and food. Hence all the TV programming of cooking shows and kitchen appliances. Not a good sign.

  25. Willy Winky says:

    If you google this headline you will come up with some very interesting info:

    Why Sweden Succeeded in “Flattening the Curve” and New York Failed

    The reason New York failed to “flatten the curve” and Sweden succeeded probably has little to do with lockdowns.

    • Raging Ranter says:

      Comparing a country with a densely populated city… maybe that comparison doesn’t tell you as much as you think. Comparing Sweden to Norway, Denmark, or Finland, or all three, gives you a much more apples-to-apples comparison. Spoiler alert: Sweden doesn’t come out looking so great.

  26. B Wilds says:

    It is important to remember that it is not uncommon to see a time lag before the impact of events is truly revealed, this is why a lot of people will be surprised and shocked by the reality that is about to unfold. Small businesses have taken the brunt of this assault. The demise of millions of small businesses underlines the bleak picture we face, this means unpaid rents and more empty storefronts as Main Street withers on the vine.

    Until now much of the damage has been masked by a massive government giveaway. Unfortunately, the damage all this has wrought will become apparent over the coming months from the strong headwinds facing our economy.

  27. DanS86 says:

    The ruling psychopaths love it. More and more power…until Nature steps in.

  28. The Green New Deal gets a lot of press, what about a new WPA? Idle businesses represent structures which are already in place. Target essential businesses first. Monitor progress and expand as necessary.

  29. sierra7 says:

    Nothing will focus our minds and efforts until we get the glimpse of the hangman’s noose!

  30. JammyHammy says:

    Aren’t people whose hours are reduced (say 40 hrs/wk pre-covid but now just 20 hrs/wk) also eligible for unemployment? So they would count towards the UE insurance number but not be unemployed?

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