Media Continues to Misreport Unemployment: 31.8 Million People on State & Federal Unemployment Insurance. Week 18 of U.S. Labor Market Collapse

I get tired of reporters or bots who don’t read beyond the 2nd paragraph of Labor Department press releases. 2.35 million initial state and federal unemployment claims. PUA claims (gig workers) now 41% of total unemployment. 20% of labor force on unemployment insurance.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

It just doesn’t let up. An astounding number of newly laid-off workers keeps filing for unemployment benefits week after week and pile on top of the people already unemployed. And the number of people who started working again isn’t big enough to make a visible dent in the curve.

In the week ended July 18, the total number of people who continued to claim unemployment compensation  under all state and federal unemployment insurance programs, including gig workers and contract workers, edged down to 31.8 million (not seasonally adjusted), as reported by the Department of Labor this morning. It was the third highest level ever and just a tad off the peak:

Unabated lazy misreporting in the media.

If you read this morning or heard on the radio that 16.2 million people were claiming unemployment insurance – the “continued claims” – and you thought that there were only 16.2 million people who claimed unemployment benefits, you fell victim to lazy misreporting in the media, by reporters or bots that didn’t read the Labor Department’s press release beyond the second paragraph.

Those 16.2 million were only the claims under state programs, and do not include the claims under federal programs. All combined, there were 31.8 million people on the unemployment rolls. That’s what the Labor Department reported further down in the press release.

There is a huge difference between 16.2 million and 31.8 million unemployed people!

Why do the media misreport this data? A bunch of reporters are sitting in a government room, isolated from the world. At 8 a.m., they get the data from the Labor Department; at 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department makes the data public. Reporters have 30 minutes to write up their piece and send it to their offices at 8:30 a.m., which then publish it in all haste. To get this done in 30 minutes, reporters only read the first two paragraphs of the long convoluted badly-put-together report by the Labor Department. And the result is flagrant misreporting.

The issue is that the claims under federal programs are new, established by the CARES Act, and the Labor Department just inserts them further down in the press release, and then it provides a total of state and federal claims further down – the 31.8 million – instead of putting the total in the first line of the first paragraph so that even lazy reporters or lazily programmed bots, who’ve for years reported only the first two paragraphs, can see it.

I have been reporting the total provided by the Labor Department every week since May. By May 28, I first used a version of the chart you see above, while the WSJ, CNBC, Bloomberg, and others continued to misreport the data.

The total is now slowly cropping up, perhaps under pressure from yours  truly. Bloomberg today put it in the last paragraph, and you had to read through a whole lot of blah-blah-blah to get it. Over the weekend, the WSJ ran an article that for the first time that I know mentioned the total and even included a chart of the total that looked like mine, based on old data. This morning, the WSJ failed to report the total and didn’t show its own chart of the total. It just showed two charts of state claims. What I heard this morning on NPR was painful. In past weeks, they have under-reported actual unemployment claims by nearly half!

And even today, you still cannot see the headline number – 31.8 million people claiming unemployment benefits under all programs – in the financial MSM headlines!

Seasonal adjustments have gone haywire. So months ago, I switched to “not seasonally adjusted” data.

The method of “seasonal adjustments” was not designed for this explosive surge in claims that we have seen since March, and this became clear early in the crisis and was confirmed today. Early on, “seasonal adjustments” inflated initial unemployment claims by the millions. By May, they caused them to be under-reported. And today, these seasonal adjustments once again inflated the initial claims data.

So months ago, I shifted to reporting only “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment data. Today I will point out the differences.

Unemployment insurance under state programs.

Seasonally adjusted: 1.42 million newly laid-off people filed their initial unemployment claims with state unemployment offices in the week ended July 18. This was up from 1.30 million in the prior week, and the highest in four weeks. There was some hand-wringing in the media over that increase.

Not seasonally adjusted: 1.37 million newly laid-off people filed their initial unemployment claims with state unemployment offices in the week ended July 18. This was down from 1.51 million in the prior week, and the lowest so far in this crisis.

Yes, there are some seasonal factors affecting unemployment claims, but the method to calculated them was not designed to deal with these huge numbers. So I will stick to “not seasonally adjusted” claims data.

Over the past six weeks, there has been essentially no improvement, and the number of newly laid-off people has remained at a gut-wrenching high level:

The 1.37 million people who filed these initial unemployment claims during the week piled on top of the already “insured unemployed” who’d filed in prior weeks under state unemployment programs. But some of the “insured unemployed” were rehired. And the net of the inflows and outflows is the total of the currently “insured unemployed” under state programs.

The number of insured unemployed under state programs declined this week to 16.4 million (not seasonally adjusted), after having increased last week. These people are represented by the blue columns in the first chart above.

Unemployment insurance under federal programs.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): 13.18 million continued claims. PUA covers contract workers, the self-employed, and others – the “gig workers”: During the week, 974,999 new claims were added by 48 states.

This means initial claims under state and federal programs combined this week totaled 2.35 million (1.37 million initial state claims plus 974,999 initial PUA claims), a huge number of people newly out of work!

The total number of people claiming benefits under the PUA program declined to 13.18 million, from 14.28 million last week, as more workers that had been receiving PUA benefits were dropped from the rolls, likely because they’d started working again.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): 940,113 continued claims, about flat with the prior week. PEUC covers people who don’t qualify for other programs.

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

Realistic unemployment rate: 20%.

There are 160 million people in the civilian labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (not that this number can be trusted). Of them, 31.8 million receive unemployment compensation under state and federal programs. This means that 20% of the labor force receives unemployment compensation, which forms the most realistic estimate of the actual unemployment rate: 20%.

Data Chaos persists.

There are numerous factors that overstate and understate the actual number of unemployed, and we’re not able to pin them all down. I mentioned seasonal adjustments as one of those factors.

But there are also fraudulent claims that overstate claims data. And then there are claims that have been denied for various reasons, often due to mismatched information from the employer that take weeks or months to sort out. And they would understate unemployment. Then there are states that still don’t process all federal claims. And even states that do process them, do so inconsistently. Then there are people who don’t qualify for unemployment insurance, and when they lose their work, they don’t count here at all.

But give or take maybe 1 million people, the total number of unemployed still hovers around 32 million. That’s the number to go by, not the fallen-off-the-cliff nonsense produced these days by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its now ludicrously distorted survey-based jobs report.

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  176 comments for “Media Continues to Misreport Unemployment: 31.8 Million People on State & Federal Unemployment Insurance. Week 18 of U.S. Labor Market Collapse

  1. LifeSupportSystem4aVote says:

    The ‘reporters’ aren’t being lazy, they are doing as they are ordered. Anything that doesn’t fit the “blue skies and sunshine forever” narrative is to be either buried deep into the articles, or left out. The ‘bots are doing as they are programmed, with the programming incorporating the same directive as that given the reporters. Whatever it takes to drive the casino indexes upward.

    All IMO, of course…

    • Frederick says:

      You are obviously correct Remember how they treated Peter Schiff prior to the GFC ? And of course he was proven correct They are just whores for Wall Street and well paid ones at that

    • Trinacria says:

      “lame stream reports” misreporting….I’m shocked !!! The agenda is just beyond filthy!!! Thank God for people like Wolf out there to help folks sift through the BS !!!!

    • MaryR says:

      Reporters are no longer journalists who delve into the facts they are reporting and who challenge anything, including data, which does not fit the facts. We live in an era instead of news readers. This means fake news is in fact everywhere.

      I look to John Williams, Shadow Government stats website for reality on government numbers. As of July 2nd the SGS alternate June 2020 unemployment rate was 31.2%, calculated per the 1994 method of including long term discouraged workers and adding them to the U6 government measure (includes short term discouraged workers) rather than the low headline number. This number is approaching 50 million unemployed Americans, using 160 million as the January labor force. It is absolutely frightening.

  2. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Next, Wolf is going to complain that these reporters also didn’t dig deep enough into Tesla’s “profitable” quarter i.e. it’s all due to selling regulatory credits.

    There seems to be a drive to get Tesla to be part of the S&P 500 no matter what. What’s the ultimate end game here?

    • DeerInHeadlights says:

      Yeah, what’s up with this “reality” stuff Wolf? What’s next, you’re gonna tell us the stock market is inflated? The economy’s not doing as well as we think? We shouldn’t be bailing out corporations? Stock buybacks aren’t good? Elon Musk is not a genius? The Fed inflates asset prices? Sheesh…

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I want TSLA to join the S&P 500 at the highest possible price, $10,000 a share would be great. And then, once in the index at that price, let it plunge, because I’m short the S&P 500 ?

      • Joe says:

        From what I read around, it is mostly credits and government subsidies that has kept this company propped up. When the regulators get in, I bet you will clean house on this bet you made.

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          Regulators? In which country are you living in?

        • DeerInHeadlights says:

          Do you also believe in the tooth fairy?

        • Ensign_Nemo says:

          I’m going to redo a simple calculation I posted here weeks ago.

          Tesla’s market capitalization today is $295.34 Billion.

          Tesla delivered about 368,000 vehicles last year.

          Tesla has a market capitalization of $802,554 per vehicle delivered in 2019.

          Call it about $800,000, as the data is not accurate to six decimal places.

          Deliveries for Q2 of 2020 were 88,400 vehicles, a bit lower than the 95,200 vehicles for Q2 of 2019, which was probably caused by the coronavirus crisis.

          An investor who buys Tesla stock is paying a number that is getting rather close to a million bucks per vehicle sale.

          Still wanna buy some Tesla stock?

        • Ensign_Nemo says:

          Minor correction: Q2 2020 deliveries were 90,650, it was Q1 2020 deliveries that were 88,400. My mouse moved left a bit after I hovered it over the table to read the numbers, then removed my hand to type in the numbers.

          Pesky electronic rodent …

        • Jessy James says:

          Let’s use critical thinking, instead of TSLA skittles rainbow statistics. You can’t even source TOILET PAPER for the Gigafactory john. How the frick are you gonna source electric car parts for 90K vehicles??? I have a flying mule that sings The Devil went Down to Georgia to sell you…

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        I am short the index too. But it could blow us up if it’s the opposite i.e. everyone will pile on during the rebalance.

    • CRV says:

      Yesterday i reacted on that news as follows: “when Tesla sells less cars it makes less losses. The selling of credits remains the same (for now, beacuse credits are granted on past selllings, not current ones), therefore there is more profit”. How long this can be dragged on is part of the ‘genius’ talk of Elon. He makes shure there’s always something to look forward to. Being the S&P matter or battery-day, or what ever.
      Elon is a genius in inflating the hype. You must grand him that.

    • Jessy James says:

      Good question. I suspect it’s an attempt to replace Jesus Christ. YOU COULD NEVER GET ME TO BELIEVE THOSE BULL$HIT EARNINGS NUMBERS. Especially after the “shatter-proof glass incident on that ugly as sin truck. My thoughts on unemployment involve Wolf. The, “likely because they’d started working again.” premise just doesn’t cut it for me. Dropping off the rolls is more likely running out of unemployment compensation to claim. Why in hell would you give up an extra $600 A WEEK to go back to selling DVD players and Big Macs?

  3. Seneca's Cliff says:

    The media must be right. Because houses in my neck of the woods are selling like hotcakes and being bid up over asking price. The same is true of places where my friends and relatives live. People are obviously getting great new high paying jobs at a record pace to make this happen. As we all know ,anecdotal evidence of houses selling fast is the most important economic indicator of all and everything else is just made up.

    • Cem says:

      1. How do you know that’s what’s happening?

      2. Real Estate is local. That’s not the case everywhere, if true, as evidenced by the article wolf posted a few days ago.

      • Seneca's cliff says:

        Sorry, I should have added a *sarcasm footnote, but I was hoping my poking fun at the usual real estate pumpers was obvious.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Seneca’s cliff,

          It was obvious to me since I’ve been reading your comments for long time. But for someone not familiar with your comments, it was not necessarily obvious.

  4. John says:

    Is there any double counting in the numbers in a situation where an individual is getting both State AND Federal checks?

    • Lance Manly says:

      No, the states coordinate everything.

      • KurtZ says:

        Stonks are UP….. so you can’t have the reality of massive unemployment get in the way of that narrative

    • Adam Smith Engineer says:

      I suspect there must be some of this must be going on. Are we really sure that the state and federal numbers are mutually exclusive?

    • Wolf Richter says:


      There should not be any double-counting. It’s either one or the other. Not both. The claims are all processed by the same state office and it goes by SS#. So double-counting would be tough.

      But as I said, there could be some fraud, but also lots of claims have not yet been processed… Data chaos.

  5. Petunia says:

    The other group that’s isolated from the world is our govt. This is the last week for the extra unemployment benefit, you know, the $600 that’s making everybody rich. And still congress is playing at last minute crisis management. I’m really sick and tired of seeing it. They really don’t give a damn about any of us.

    I’m still going to vote for our president, but the rest of them, I’m just not feeling it.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      LOL, what has this president done that’s so good for regular people? “Tax cut”? It’s worsening the financial position of this country. Your tax cut == future tax increase for your children.

      No one anywhere gives a damn. And that’s the problem with America. It’s not just the government. It’s a me, me, me country.

      • Petunia says:

        I think he’s doing a good job in spite of all the hoaxes and opposition. The alternative is accepting the republic is dead.

        • Frederick says:

          Petunia, I have to disagree I voted for him and will not this time around The only reason I voted for him in 2016 was because the thought of Hillary was just too horrendous to even contemplate

        • Most of his base don’t care that he isn’t doing a good job which leads us to your conclusion.

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          LOL. He botched the handling of the pandemic. And no, I am not one of those people who suffer from TSD. It’s just unclear to me, how he’s better. I mean where are the jobs that are supposed to return here?

          Record stock market? Most people don’t own stock and arguably Obomba laid out the ground work for that. I would argue that the last good president was probably Eisenhower. From then on, it’s a race to the bottom.

        • MiTurn says:

          Petunia, 100% agreement.

        • Realist says:

          My opinion is that it doesn’t matter whoever is/will be president of the USA. It is the sweeping historical trends that defines what will happen and the USA of today resembles much indeed the Roman empire during the first half of the 400s ..

        • Stuart says:

          The Republic has been dead since high noon, January 20, 1981 with the advent of the Reagan regime. It’s been all downhill since. Prove me wrong.

        • A/C in SD says:

          I agree with you, especially if one considers the alternative! About the same, maybe even worse than 2016.

        • Shiloh1 says:

          As a dad of a 20 year old male I’m glad he has not gotten the country into any new wars and is pulling back on those started by his predecessors, but then again, those who died or were maimed were All My Sons.

          Strange that the country was ‘so much together’ as when dropping the bombs on foreign countries.

        • Endeavor says:

          Trump has been resisting the ‘War Party’ and hasn’t bailed on the second amendment. In these lean times that is Statesmanship of the first order.

        • Kurtismayfield says:

          When he posted himself wearing the mask on Monday, it’s was over.

          Would Trump had done that if he was behind in the polls?

          He is playing politics with a Pandemic.

        • Jon says:

          I am a Democrat and voted for Hillary last election. I lean Democrat on a lot of things
          Being in High tech with a high salary, I’d vote for POTUS although I don’t like a lot of his positions.
          I believe both sides are evil but my job is more protected because of Trump’s policies. I can say this with high degree of confidence because I see the impact first hand. I am not here to sway anyone but here is what I have experienced first hand and I feel based on my observation:

          I work in HiTech Field which fetches $150k or more. My kind of jobs are replaceable by H1B and other visas like L1 visas holders.
          H1Bs and L1B visas are simply used to replace american engineers by cheap engineers by big companies. The spirit of these visas are awesome by law but in practice heavily abused by corporations.
          Ever since Trump because POTUS, he made many administrative tweaks so that these visas can’t be abused.
          Because of these tweaks, Let me tell you that me and my fellow american workers got a respite and no long live in the fear of them being replaced by cheap foreign workers.

          Looking at this alone, people who are in hi-tech field, should vote for Trump or Trump like people who want to have good paying job in USA for themslves or for their kids.

          This helps me bring bread on the table and this is of utmost importance to me.
          Biden has already come up with announcements to give breaks to H1B holders.. For this reason alone, I may not vote him because it affects my livelihood.

          People would always argue it can be outsourced, can be done remotely but I feel Trump really cared for people like us atleast thru his actions . It may be a different thing in his heart, he gives two hoots about us workers.

        • quack says:

          It is dead. :)

        • kitten lopez says:

          “The alternative is accepting the republic is dead.”

          Oh woman, that’s hella deep. / i’m here avoiding writing on my own stuff, and i’ve been thinking on and reconsidering this patriotism thing myself, and what it looks like for ME now that i find myself estranged from so much i’d gone for believed in belonged to had become a part of…

          thanks for saying “my eyes are up here” on this love of country thing.


          i knew you saw colors only the hummingbirds see, otherwise you wouldn’t have gone RIGHT THERE.


      • timbers says:

        Well…our president isn’t exactly clear who she means, but I agree with your point. And BTW the payroll tax cut certainly would have benefited our current President that’s for sure, by cutting his employee payroll contributions at his hotels and gulf courses and such, wouldn’t it?. So we can figure out he is thinking about and it’s not us.

        Then, next year or whenever they get to it, they tell us Payroll is running out of money so we no choice but to cut your Medicare and Social Security, you selfish retirees.

      • MiTurn says:

        “No one anywhere gives a damn. And that’s the problem with America. It’s not just the government. It’s a me, me, me country.”

        You are right. We’ve become a nation of virtue-signaling narcissists.

        • Zantetsu says:

          It’s been me, me, me since the 80’s, well before virtue signalling.

        • MJ says:

          Like affluent high tech people who aren’t concerned about the GOP priority to weaken Social Security?
          It’s the corporate culture that feeds the values of replacing a good employee with a less expensive one. Oh yes and then let’s reward the corporations by giving them tax cuts that increase our national debt and weaken our collective future. All the Trump kids will be just fine.

        • MJ says:

          It’s the corporate culture that feeds the values of replacing a good employee with a less expensive one. Oh yes and then let’s reward the corporations by giving them tax cuts that increase our national debt and weaken our collective future. All the Trump kids will be just fine.

        • MJ says:

          Please look at the photos everyday of healthcare workers across the country picking up the consequences on the front line of a bungled crisis. This is serious personal dedication that should be recognized.
          There are still many good people.
          Nurses coming out of retirement in their 60s to help. Doctors working to exhaustion. People in NYC applauded them, let’s join in!

      • Tony22 says:

        Forgiving or lessoning payroll taxes also weakens social security and medicare inflows, thus weakening those and making them more “unsustainable” and amenable to privatization and profit sucking from the Wall Street parasites.
        How about that Pentagon budget? Is it “sustainable”?
        California’s two senators, Methusalah Feinstein and Kamalasutra Harris just voted against Senator Sanders proposal to lower the Pentagon budget by 10%.

        • Shiloh1 says:

          Earned my first paycheck 45 years ago but no social security yet. I have not seen my ‘social security lock box’, but i will settle at a discount now for silver monster boxes, the sooner the better.

        • Paul.w says:

          I could imagine SS being privatized and taking 20% for administrative fees.

    • caticorn says:

      If you think people are getting ‘rich’ off of $600 a week, then you must live in Bhutan.

      • Noelck says:

        Exactly $600/week isn’t making anyone rich. Though there are faults with this program I think this was the most beneficial program to our economy.

        This portion cost American tax payer $260 billion and was the best spent money out of the Cares act.

        The PPP and how it was handled was a travesty in many cases – $377 billion.

        Not to mention all the other money given to corporations and pumped into the stock market. These companies are still going to lay people off.

        Sending only 11% of tax payer money Cares Act to the people most effected by the pandemic seems almost unjust.

        • Underground says:


        • Realist says:

          The dirty secret with unemployment benefits is that the recipients normally uses most or all of that money for daily living expenses, thus “investing” it straight into the economy, keeping wheels turning. In other words, unemployment benefits keep a lot of business in business during lean times.

    • Mr Wake Up says:

      Its terrible. Most people do not want to hear the truth. We have to play crisis management not property management for months. People think I’m doom and gloom no clue about reality Clients are under the impression that all is well the economy is back open the stores are open what you mean they are not paying the rent what you mean they want a discount? Mr wake up – maybe its time that you wake up and listen to the fake news hype that the market is up and people should be able to pay us OK??

      Small mom and pop Tenant’s struggled to bring employees back thanks to the federal unemployment competition.

      Automation replacing labor.

      Zoom replacing the office.

      Warehouses replacing the retail store front via online distribution.

      Work force will never be what it is was like pre covid!

      • Brant Lee says:

        The U.S. can’t get hurt too bad by automation, there are only 12 million manufacturing jobs left, according to U.S. Debt Clock. We actually have more millionaires (18 million) than manufacturing jobs so what can you say? Only in America.
        The U.S. could benefit from automation if we would just gear up and do it. We must be afraid to put Chinese workers out of jobs? Besides, investors only like the stock market here, nothing labor intensive like starting a factory.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          Automaton is going to hit office workers HARD very soon. There are indirect ways to eliminate jobs as well. For instance, because of work from home, many janitors, handymen and IT workers will be laid off. Automaton can’t easily replace those jobs, although they can chip away at the number needed through efficiency advantages. At the same time many jobs can be outsourced.

          The main thing though is that, many companies will probably start only having a website, everything including all information goes through there, no phone numbers, all payments electronic (you can probably pay with something like a e-money order).

          For example, consider an insurance office. If everyone just switched to using the website say for state farm, they would no longer need local offices and everyone associated with them. But, at the head offices, they could also eliminate most people, as they would no longer have to deal with local offices, no dealing with mail (everything is paperless). Just a website to pay your bills, a small office to manage the logistics, a small IT team to manage the computer side, and independent claim adjusters in the field (who may work on commission for several different companies).

          Once everything being website only becomes the norm, it will be far easier to deal with everything this way.

          There are many possibilities but, this was the easiest one to describe.

          I would say the majority of all office workers could be laid off (this is not counting the handymen, janitors, and construction workers laid off as well).

        • Mr Wake Up says:

          Brant Lee

          Automation is not just within manufacturing.

          Problem in a me me me society is we tend only to think for our own wealth. If I have riches what I care about automation replacing the cashier at the supermarket, the home depot, the stock broker, the title closer, the attorney, the taci driver, the accountant, the meet processor at the plant, and as you see the list goes beyond manufacturing…

          so eventually automation will force us into MMT (along with other reasons of course) and then more chants for eat the rich to feed the poor but again people only see the me me me then when we arrive at why me?

          Then and only then we start to think how we arrived at that destination in time…

          Now on the flip side and a positive spin towards manufacturing –

          *Vote 4 ME *
          instead of our goverment being so focused on handouts why not stimulate the economy and crush the trade war with tax incentives for made in USA!

          Why not offer companies for example like Nike make your $5 sneakers here that sell for $250 and we will allow “workers” to keep the payroll tax and re invest in anyone of the Feds companies of choice. Allow the corporations no income tax for 10 years. Were not collecting payroll nor income tax from goods made in China.

          The worst cities can offer land and SBA loans, goverment grants to build new factories and add that in addition to the wizard of OZ ( opportunity zones) and then we might be able to improve the jobs reports again and remeber there just “jobs” which 32 million people currently do not have…

      • MJ says:

        Please look at the photos everyday of healthcare workers across the country picking up the consequences on the front line of a bungled crisis. This is serious personal dedication that should be recognized.
        There are still many good people.
        Nurses coming out of retirement in their 60s to help. Doctors working to exhaustion. People in NYC applauded them, let’s join in!

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      “If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.”

      Don’t vote. It only encourages them.

      Except for local judges and school board where it might make a difference.

      • timbers says:

        Yes. The purpose of primary elections and campaigns isn’t to choose who gets elected (that’s already been decided and The Supremes have ruled all votes can be ignored or counted or not counted or any combination in any manner the elites choose) it’s to create enthusiasm and the illusion that we were part of that choice and we can hold them accountable. We can’t. Presidential elections are similarly close to that.

        • Zantetsu says:

          It’s frustrating to live in a country where free speech is allowed but the general populous has become too stupid/lazy/greedy to make any use of that fact, preferring instead to believe lies and propoganda. Why suppress free speech when people would rather believe lies anyway? It’s the best of both worlds for the us govt — we can look ‘freer’ than China while simultaneously being just as shackled.

        • Thomas Roberts says:


          The primary problem is that the majority of middle aged and up are okay with the status quo, even if it screws over the younger generations and isn’t even the best deal for the older generations. As long the middle aged and up are promised to be able to keep what they got and they usually think the consequences won’t effect them. Unfortunately for the middle aged ones, the whole system will unravel in their lifetime. Major changes to the economy are coming, alot could happen. This will greatly change America as well.

          Also, China is in a death spiral and alot less free and well off as many seem to believe. There is a reason, so many wealthy Chinese try to bring their money to America or literally anywhere outside of China. Until Xi, China was improving, but, everything changed since he got in.

    • Matt says:

      Do we really need to continue a flat $600? I know of people doing contract work as photographers that got “laid off” but they’re collecting state and federal funds and making a killing in their side hobby as well. Sorry but the stimulus shouldn’t be laying more than a busser and a barista were making more previously. Maybe some of thes people would be more for opening up as opposed to keeping things indefinitely shut down if they weren’t milking it.

      • Kurtismayfield says:

        Billions were funneled into businesses that don’t need it, the President got his own personal $500,000,000,000 to file out to whoever he sees fit, and the stock market was propped up again by the Fed. Why are you worried about your neighbor who will be spending that money almost immediately?

      • Stephen P Walsh says:

        I didn’t hear you whine when Boeing and all the airlines were bailed out. And stop telling the lie that people are refusing to go back to work. If they do, they are immediately cut off. Where the hell is Richter on this? Why does he continue to let these criminals lie?

      • David G LA says:

        Exactly. Even if they are paid and their wages are reported to the IRS via a 1099 – those are filed in January and do not show dates worked. WIDE OPEN FOR FRAUD.

  6. David Hall says:

    They want to go to about $200-$300 week unemployment assistance hand outs in the next round of stimulus, rather than $600/wk. That might stimulate competition for jobs. In the first round of stimulus many of the unemployed earned more not working than their jobs ever paid them.

    Hundreds of thousands of utility customers in several states are nearing utility shut off dates as moratoriums on shutting off electricity and water are scheduled to expire.

    • Kurtismayfield says:

      Competition for what jobs? Only in the US do we think having more people looking for work is a good thing.

      • Underground says:

        But of course, competition for jobs is what we need more of!
        That’ll fix everything.

  7. leanfire_Queen says:

    Wolf, do you remember during the last housing crash (btw imho a new housing crash is impossible to avoid), the birth-death model was inflating the estimation of new jobs that new businesses were creating?,employment%20gains%20from%20business%20births.

    Any comment on how the COVID-induced adjustments to the birth-death model this time around will distort employment data?

    • leanfire_Queen says:

      This is the part that I’m most skeptical about the birth-death model during pandemics, in which deaths of businesses will clearly be much higher than births of businesses:

      “Earlier research indicated that while both the business birth and death portions of total employment are generally significant, the net contribution is relatively small and stable.
      To account for this net birth-death portion of total employment, BLS uses an estimation procedure with two components: the first component excludes employment losses due to business deaths from sample-based estimation in order to offset the missing employment gains from business births.

      Note that the net birth-death forecasts are not
      seasonally adjusted, and are applied to the not seasonally adjusted monthly employment estimates to derive the final CES employment estimates”

      The Total nonfarm net birth-death forecast for April, May, and June: -553k, 345k and 295k. Massive adjustments of doubtful accuracy.

      • sunny129 says:

        55% of businesses closed on Yelp have shut down for good during the coronavirus pandemic

        Restaurants and retailers remain especially hard-hit. Restaurants listed on Yelp have suffered 26,160 total closures as of July 10, and 60% (15,770) have permanently closed — which is up 23% from June 15. And it’s been last call for more than four in 10 bars and nightlife spots (44%) listed on Yelp, that will also never reopen.

        Marketwatch July 22, ’20

  8. Phil says:

    State unemployment offices generally confirm a person’s employment status with their employer before granting benefits. Do the PUA and PEUC programs do the same for the gig workers? How do they know if they are truly working or not?

  9. Voltamom says:

    Wolf, is there any concrete information on how the fraudulent claims may be impacting the overall numbers? I have heard that Maryland and Massachusetts have been hit with major fraud UI claims.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      The thing is that once the fraudulent claims are found, processing is halted and the claims are removed from the unemployment claims data, to be dealt with separately. The ones that are not found stick in the data.

  10. HR01 says:


    Yes, this observer sighs each Thursday when every media outlet reports only the state UI program.

    Expect the reporters to suddenly awaken from slumber say, oh, four or five weeks prior to Election Day? Of course by then the state numbers will be skyrocketing again after PPP restrictions expire.

    • David G LA says:

      The biggest problem with the reporting – and this goes on all the time, and others have commented: “the rate of increase has gone down”. BUT IT IS STILL INCREASING. and we are talking about MILLIONS of people.

  11. KamikazeShaman says:

    It would be interesting to know how many are “artificially employed” via the PPP.

    Is there any way to generate a rough estimate of that number? The unemployment percentage would be significantly higher than what it is now without PPP.

    It’s like UI’s shadow brother that obscures the real damage done to shutting down the economy. Ban furloughing workers and pay them with stimulus money to make the economy look better than it is.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I think we’re going to get some answers pretty soon as the PPP begins to phase out.

      And October 1 is the date for big companies that got bailouts, that’s the day they can lay off people.

      • MCH says:

        October, it is certainly an interesting month, isn’t it. between that and September, usually all the “fun” stuff happens around then. And that’s not even counting the election, this year is going to be like a replay of 2008 at this rate, except infinitely worse.

      • Noelck says:

        I cannot see how October is not going to be a bloodbath. A ton of these layoffs are already announced.

  12. Mr Wake Up says:

    new slogan – nothing but the facts!

    The warning signs were with us pre covid but everyone kept buying the fake news and the real account balances. Kept saying to friends how did we forget the GFC of the last decade – it cant keep going this way no matter who is in office things will go to heck don’t you remember??
    (I’m sorry did you say something?)

    Would be great to conduct a medical study on the brain and how it is impacted by account balances and false stats.

    Compare peoples brain to March lows (panic) vs June 8th high (all is well nothing to see here) along side with Mega 5 market caps ($$$$$) and and see how quick people forget being on the verge of loosing majority of their wealth along with jump in dopamine now that would be an interesting chart/ brain scan…

    • sunny129 says:

      ‘Kept saying to friends how did we forget the GFC of the last decade ‘

      Most of the newbie (under 45y) came into the mkt after GFC and never under gone a bear mkt in their life time. For them, the stocks go only way up and Fed is there to rescue, until NOT!

  13. The media is about to segue into the “unemployment scam”, at about the same time the real unemployment numbers are made clear. Propaganda is necessary in order to vilify the protests in the minds of middle class couch potatoes who demand law and order. Kent State, fifty years ago. Nixon didn’t directly order the National Guard, or Federal troops, in that instance.

    • Frederick says:

      The “ real” unemployment statistics have been readily available all along Just go to John Williams site Shadowstats

    • sunny129 says:

      ‘ Kent State, fifty years ago. Nixon didn’t directly order the National Guard, or Federal troops, in that instance.

      May be true. It is the prevailing MIND SET at the top and seeping down the ‘middle’ bureaucrat who become the enabler.

  14. George W says:

    Fraudulent UI Claims.

    No one is getting rich off of the 600 extra UI benefit. There are some who may be trying to fraudulently collect UI benefits but it is a small minority.

    If caught, they will be required to payback all their UI benefits for the reporting period. Also, they will not be eligible for UI benefits in the future. I worked with a Gal that had to pay back $3,800 in UI benefits on a technicality.

    Desperate people do foolish things but most people follow the rules.

    UI benefits are based on you previous earnings. Someone making $80,000 is going to receive a much larger benefit check than say someone earning $20,000.

    • Frederick says:

      They should be required to pay back ten times what they stole plus a year in prison Fraud needs to be stopped And yes that goes for all the crooks on Wall Street too

      • Anthony A. says:

        Our prisons are at capacity already. Where are you going to put these people?

      • George W says:

        Right, the US is the most indebted nation in the world. The US issues debt every week that it has no intention of ever paying back(fraud).

        I agree the fraud needs to stop. We all participate, we are all guilty and everyone needs to be held accountable.

        Confiscate( ten times ) the assets of the US public and pay of the debt.

        • eg says:

          You do realize that “paying off the debt” means eliminating all Treasuries, right?

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      Up to the cap. I had been making 6 figures the only time I collected state unemployment. I got the max, same as someone who made a bit under $50k.

    • Petunia says:

      In Oklahoma the state unemployment benefit tops out at $100 a week, in Louisiana it’s $247 a week, in Mississippi it’s $240….. these are the top rates for those states. Even with the extra $600 minus the taxes, it barely sustains the lowest income families. Targeting this money is a farce, especially when the govt always has plenty of money for the rich, or for bombs.

      • leanFIRE_Queen says:

        Congress wants to serve company owners whose business models rely on paying a pittance to workers as well as real estate owners. But it cannot serve both masters at the same time.

        We’ll see who wins: real estate owners or company owners? The rest of the country gets caught up in that fight for handouts and bailouts to the top 10% (Congress members themselves are included there).

        • Petunia says:

          I’ve been commenting for years that rent control was coming and now it’s closer to being a reality than ever. Whether “they” like it or not, we already have too many of our people on the streets living in tents. The age of the mega landlords is about to end.

        • David G LA says:

          How can you be both pro Trump and pro rent control?

        • leanfire_Queen says:

          Petunia, I follow your comments like religion in this blog. Imho you are 100% right about rent control. The USA will turn into a renter nation due to inflating housing costs above what incomes can sustain. It’s only time until regulations turn pro-renters.

          Regarding housing policy, one of the most puzzling dynamics in politics in the US is the lack of grilling the Democrats get from ruining their cities by fabricating homeless right and left.

          That’s obviously NOT something that Republican and Independent voters want Democrats to spread to the rest of the country. Wondering since when Democrats had been the party serving the NIMBYs with such unconditional fervor.

        • timbers says:

          David G LA, if you want to understand how Petunia can be pro rent control and pro Trump, look up recent Steve Bannon interviews on YouTube. He got Trump elected, and explains brilliantly and in ways corporate Dems long ago lost any ability to – how to represent working class folks not the rich and corporate finacial class. If Dem’s could acquire a tenth of his concern for working class, they’d a 2/3 majority party again like they once were.

        • Petunia says:

          David G LA,

          I call myself a Clinton Republican because they made me one.

          The reason I am both pro Trump and pro rent control is because I, like Trump, am really a moderate democrat pushed out of the party by crazy policies. I am not a conservative, but I have more in common with them, than the batshit crazy left.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Very WELL PUT Pet!
          I am, like LFQ, an appreciative reader of your comments on here, and, similar to you in my thinking re the trumpster, etc., though have always, since 66, been registered independent.
          One of my mentors back then was a ”founding” member of the JBirch group AND the ACLU of the SoCal area, and he was very forthcoming that he considered both, then, to be working to support and extend the principles of our constitution; he was drafted into USA medical corps the day he finished med school, spent the next 3 years in Europe, first in MASH, later as ”health officer”.. So he had earned the right to say what he thought was right, and he did so extensively the rest of his life, R.I.P.
          BTW, not especially advocating either org, as seems like they too have joined the movement to extremes, eh?
          IMHO, somehow, we need to get USA to move back into the middle/moderate/majority mode, while respecting both ends rights.

      • Weary Patience says:

        In Mississippi, ($238+$600)/wk is about the median household income ($43.5k/yr). For most of the state that can get you by ok. If there are two wage earners in a household on unemployment they’ve hit the jackpot – 2x the median household income!

        • Petunia says:

          I’d rather see the money go to them than spent on more useless wars and zombie company bailouts.

        • El Katz says:

          @David G LA:

          Because not everyone thinks like an “on / off” switch. There are things that the President has done that I agree with…. some that I’m okay with, and some that I disagree with. However, I’d rather have had him around for the past 3 odd years than the alternative “choice” in the 2016 election.

          Petunia may be of the same mindset.

  15. Putin on the Ritz says:

    “In the 80s everyone from the top to the bottom of Soviet society knew that it wasn’t working, knew that it was corrupt, knew that the bosses were looting the system, knew that the politicians had no alternative vision. And they knew that the bosses knew they knew that. Everyone knew it was fake, but because no one had any alternative vision for a different kind of society, they just accepted this sense of total fakeness as normal. And this historian, Alexei Yurchak, coined the phrase “HyperNormalisation” to describe that feeling.”

    A quote from the film producer, Adam Curtis. The parallels with our society to day and those before the collapse of the Soviet Union are stark. CNBC, Bloomberg et al are like Pravda pumping out the tractor production numbers.

    • Andrei says:

      As someone who lived in SU in 80s and in US last 8 years, I can attest there are some parallels, but I wouldn’t draw any conclusions based on this.

    • timbers says:

      And so sadly, the Russians greatest mistake at the time of Soviet disslution was it’s admiration of the US and decision to copy it’s corrupt monopolistic capitalist economic system by listening to our “experts” at Harvard and top institutions….who swiftly destroyed plundered and raped her wealth and treasure so brutally that life expectancy fell 7 yrs or so.

      • Underground says:


      • Happy1 says:

        Russia didn’t copy the US at all, they had a single relatively free election and now a kleptocracy run by a despot who controls media and murders his opposition, the problem with Russia is corruption, not capitalism.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Isn’t the US problem corruption, not capitalism? Apparently one despot or 535 doesn’t make a lot of difference. And it appears the US media control isn’t much different than Pravda or Izvestia.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          If one looks long enough, it appears that mother Russia is now and has been since the czars run/ruled by the 600 or so families who ”elect” and support whichever ”strongman” by any name they want to do their bidding.
          These families have bailed out and led from the front for several centuries in ways very similar to the oligarchies of the rest of the world, and don’t really give a damn about the opinions of anyone outside that group as to democracy or any other specious notions of equality, also similar to all other oligarchies, in spite of any public announcements.
          These folks are playing the ”long game,” over thousands of years, and IMHO will continue to do so no matter what temporary upheavals, etc., interfere.

        • sierra7 says:

          Insert into browser:
          Larry Summers
          Jeffrey Sachs
          Shock Therapy (for Russia)
          It will be “enlightening”……

        • Andrei says:

          timbers was referring to the transition period in the end of 80s, not about what’s happening now

      • Andrei says:

        true, but I see the bigger problem was in the “to destroy old to build the new” mentality that people widely shared. The result turned out to be way worse than it could have been. I am no expert on China, but from what it looks they succeeded much better

  16. Bobby Dents says:

    The enhanced jobless claims aren’t popular and are toast.

    I don’t see much misinformation. Things have flattened out in July. The 4th’s created distortions obvious as usual.

    • KurtZ says:

      Dude Idk what to say but….


      • Bobby Dents says:

        What does the anti-Trumpers say: It is what it is????

        1.workers don’t like barely making 600$$$ and watching someone file and get it for nothing.
        2.jobless claims have been flat for 3 weeks now. Nothing Wolf said was new. Its SOP of the flattening.

        It will look similar next week.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Bobby Dents,

          Yes, flat at 32 million!! It’s not new because I’ve been reporting on it every week. That 32 million is just not reported in the media in the headline.

  17. JayPow says:

    Stop paying rent, mortgages and other debts and put all cash in gold until the moratorium passes. Then pay off whatever you can’t get them to write off. Profit!

  18. lisa2020 says:

    Just wanted to mention that you are the ONLY place to get the accurate numbers on the Unemployment total. Of course, the numbers are under-reported. I don’t think it is because of lazy reporters tho. I expect it is the same strategy that is being used for all of the over-reporting of all the numbers for any numbers that are reported for COVID-19.

    Kind of funny really, but more than sad.

  19. MiTurn says:

    “I get tired of reporters or bots who don’t read beyond the 2nd paragraph of Labor Department press releases. ”

    So do we and that is, dear sir, why we visit your site! We get the facts and very useful insights.

    Wolf for president! Or something…

  20. GaiusMarius says:

    “But give or take maybe 1 million people, the total number of unemployed still hovers around 32 million. That’s the number to go by, not the fallen-off-the-cliff nonsense produced these days by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its now ludicrously distorted survey-based jobs report.”

    Exactly, I’ve been amazed at how bad the reporting has been on the unemployment, and how quick people are to just take the BLS report at face value, even though we all know the information is lacking at best, if its not downright being manipulated.

    I’m not a big conspiracy kind of person, but honestly this is starting to look more and more like a concerted effort to hide the real state of the economy so that stocks can continue to rally to insane new highs, utterly detached from the economic reality.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      It is done for the young Robinhood’ers who have never seen a serious downturn or bear market.

  21. MCH says:

    Media Jedi: “Move along, there is nothing to see here.”

  22. DR DOOM says:

    Alas, the Government can not “print ” a replacement economy . Many will suffer. Bad data ,good data or no data.

  23. Rowen says:

    A friend of mine was kept on at her zombie company w/ PPP injections, even though she could have made more furloughed w/ PUA.

    Now that their 2-month PPP term expired, she’ll be furloughed at $326 week max.

    • leanFIRE_Queen says:

      Easy tk see who Congress cares tge most about. It is not your friend but the employer paying a pittance.

  24. leanFIRE_Queen says:

    US reaching 100k new COVID cases a month after schools reopen in August/Sep… too gloomy or realistic?

    • The panic issue with Covid comes when ICU slots are full. Infection rates and mortality rates, are data to be rationalized. but they must keep people out of the hospitals, and the numbers from getting out. It would be worse than a run on the banks, when hospitals turn sick people away. The new media has different ideas about reporting these things. The real crisis happens when doctors tell their sick patients to stay home, (no beds at the hospital) their situation turns quickly and they arrive in a taxi at the ER, and they are turned away. The employment problem is going to blow up that fast as well. The new media manages these stories in a way that avoids panic.

      • MiTurn says:

        AB, I think that you’re right. It is a matter of pacing the infections to keep the IC units functioning. In reality, there probably will not be a universal vaccine, and we’re all going to get it. Just got to manage that rate of infection and focus on protecting the most vulnerable.

      • leanfire_Queen says:

        > The new media manages these stories in a way that avoids panic.

        Couldn’t agree more! They are assuming that American adults are 5-year-olds without any capability for emotional regulation. Nevermind processing info.

        Every bit of info is chewed 100 times before giving it to the avg Joe.

    • MiTurn says:

      That’s okay, the kids can handle it. Those older teachers nearing retirement age? Another matter.

      • leanfire_Queen says:

        I’ll do online learning. I’ll let parents and grandparents of kids who think in-person is better to handle COVID.

        > That’s okay, the kids can handle it. Those older teachers nearing retirement age? Another matter.

        Well, those pensions were deeply unfunded. That problem might be closer to a permanent solution.

        • MiTurn says:

          “Well, those pensions were deeply unfunded. That problem might be closer to a permanent solution.”


  25. Kurtismayfield says:

    All of the posts on this board about the extra $600 a week makes it sound like there is a vocal minority who is jealous. It’s $30k a year people, before taxes.

    • David G LA says:

      I don’t know if people are jealous. It certainly is not fair to many people. And we’ll all pay in the long run via increased taxes or lower benefits or a debased dollar. Or a combo of all three.

      • leanfire_Queen says:

        Maybe lower permanent consumption and a housing crash is the right way to go. We’ll only know in the long-run.

        In the meantime, if you aren’t saving 3 or 4 times what you used to… you are being too optimistic about the future imho.

      • Kurtismayfield says:

        I can understand a feeling of “fairness”.. but nothing about this economy is fair. The biggest welfare queens are the corporations, banks, and the financial sector.

    • Taps Coogan says:

      That’s just about the median personal income level in the US, and it’s on top of standard Unemployment insurance.

      A lot of laid of workers are making quite a bit more than before being laid off and more than their colleagues that still have to show up to work.

  26. Paulo says:

    I am astounded at today’s article and comments. Astounded.

    My wife asked me why I follow the US news so closely and I responded that we are watching history in real time; the collapse of what was once a World power. I compared these current events to Great Britain after WW1, and the events of WW2 of which Britain never fully recovered.

    This is it, the big one.

    When I was a kid we had a World map on the wall in our family room. It was the skewed Normal Mercator projection that highly distorted the view north/south above the equator, but what it did display was a World in pink, (British pink), and my Mother proudly explained that the “sun never set on the British Empire”. (Her family were United Empire Loyalists who received a land grant in Canada in 1777, and proceeded to starve in New Brunswick like everyone else).

    Instead of a bombing campaign and the economic collapse that ensued for Britain, we now see in this case a pandemic that was ignored which doomed any possible economic recovery. Instead of the loss of colonies to help in England’s war effort, we now see the loss of allies, trading partners, and the closure of borders and travel to all US citizens. Tariffs. Tit for tat posturings. Obvious decline.

    There is one major difference though. In WW2 England pulled together and grouped behind the stirring words of Winston Churchill. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, England had friends and allies who rallied to help.

    In one of his most famous speeches, Churchill described a great military disaster, and warned of a possible invasion attempt by the Nazis, without casting doubt on eventual victory. (a paraphrase).

    Compare this oration to the touting of successfully passing an Alzheimers test, that the US has already done very well against the virus, and that _____ takes no responsibility for any of the failures. The US Covid testing is the best in the World. The unrelenting meme of how strong and wonderful the economy was/is, and the many followers who believe the nonsense ( stats on employment) and continually state he is doing a good job and will even vote for him again. (Said today in these comments).

    Unbelievable. The Blue Pill is alive and thriving.

    Compare the press releases, the doctored stats, the current briefings, the federal troops in cities, the dysfunctional Congress, the support of corrupt corporations over citizens, the lack of any strategy, whatsover… Churchill’s most famous speech (we will fight them on the beaches); and weep.

    Said quietly after the speech, “And we’ll fight them with the butt ends of broken beer bottles because that’s bloody well all we’ve got”.

    Today? The Blue Pill.

    And what happens when a country pulls together for the common good against a common enemy like Covid 19? Infections decline. Deaths decline. You get some freedom back. The economy improves. This is happening all over the World. All over. In my Province unemployment declined this month from 13.4% to 13%. The unemployment system in Canada is Federal and universal, as are the stats so they haven’t been twisted by local politicians. Our infection rates increased from 10 per day in BC to 30 per day due to bars, and young people partying this month (population 5 million). Within 3 days new restrictions on bars and restaurants have been imposed. This requires the leadership of scientists and experts. It is not the time for crude politics and obvious prevarication.

    One similarity between WW2 and today are the low interest rates. In WW2 the low rates lasted from ’42-47….5 years. Unfortunately though, today’s zero rates have been imposed for over 10 years already, the results often commented on and lamented right here, on WS.

    This is the big one, the collapse of a major World power before our very eyes. And what are people arguing about? Doctored stats, lies, and politics. This is the ultimate 3 card monte, and while we watch closely the pick pockets are working 24/7.

  27. Stephen P Walsh says:

    Saying you are against this misrepresentation is akin to sending your thoughts and prayers to victims. It changes nothing. Organize a march against the lie or just, I’m sorry, shut up and go home.

    • MCH says:

      Ahem, Dear Mr. Walsh, are you suggesting that Wolf Richter goes out and organize a protest and start demonstrating against the media?

      I am sorry, you must be new here, because as been previously stated by the spokepeople of the Fed, Wall Street, and the mainstream media. Mr. Richter’s Wolf-o-lution has not been approved, so, let me be clear. THERE WILL BE NO MARCHING TODAY. It has not been approved.

      Approved revolutions and marches and demonstration have been held daily in many jurisdictions, such as Portland, Seattle, etc. There are periodic ones in the bay area every day, and Mr. Richter is welcomed to join those, as long as he keeps in line with the views espoused during those demonstrations.

      Thank you, and if you (Mr. Walsh) insist on promoting such behavior and trying to incite these unapproved activities, well, if you live in SF, Nancy and Dianne will be paying you a visit shortly, or if you live in a place like NY, you may see Tucker or Sean, or Bill or one of the Cuomo brothers. We know where you are.

    • leanfire_Queen says:

      High-quality data changes everything.

      If you don’t see that, you are very low IQ.

  28. timbers says:

    Well, end of month is approaching. Guess that means BLS has to make it’s unemployment numbers match what the internets say…add in the election…how about 9.99%? That leaves 3 more reports to get the 3rd and last to 0.00% or that range. Greatest economy ever!

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      BLS should just reclassify everyone of our unemployed as “temporarily unavailable”.

      Easy job.

  29. George W says:

    Lets just get rid of all of the US social safety nets, problem solved.
    UI is nothing, lets go after it all and start over.

    Social security gone, Medicare gone, Medicaid gone.
    Federal Pensions Gone, State Pensions gone. Military Pensions Gone.
    Law enforcement pensions Gone, Teachers pensions Gone etc.

    So simple, just eliminate, all of the unfunded US liabilities.
    Next simply, confiscate the remaining US assets to pay of the National debt and we can all move forward peaceably.

    The Republic would be saved and capitalism restored.

  30. DR DOOM says:

    Outside the scope; Taking any bait to opine on Tsla earnings or nothing really to add from past posts?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      What I said in reply to akiddy111 concerning Tesla’s earnings was this:

      $428 million of its gross profit of $1.32 billion (= 1/3) came from pollution credits, not from selling cars. Hence its 25% gross margin.

      Without those $428 million in pollution credits, it would have had a net loss of $324 million.

      Yeah, I know, I know, Tesla is in the business of selling pollution credits, not cars…

      • MCH says:

        Pollution credits, carbon offsets and those types of things rock.

        It just goes to show that you can in fact make something literally out of nothing. The most hilarious part is that carbon credits are manufactured with a good intent to account for human impact on the environment, what is totally forgotten is the other impacts this rush toward “green tech” (better know as methods to limit carbon emissions due to fossil fuel) has had on the environment.

        Granted, this was a decade ago, and I’m certain manufacturing processes have improved, but I recall one of the last steps needed in solar panel manufacturing is to sandblast the edges of the panels to smooth it out, the resulting sand would then be trucked off to landfills for hazardous waste because… well, because of the carcinogenic chemicals that were used to produce the said panel would be blasted off and mixed into the sand. This was one of the last steps, let’s not even talk about the various chemical baths that each panel would go through.

        Wonder what kind of pollutants comes with the supply chain for Models S3XY, it would be hilarious if Tesla had to pay for those types of pollution credits.

        But I forget, that’s not a real issue compared to the opportunities associated with the New Green Deal type of works, it would be too disruptive to the narrative.

        I think I like Bitcoin much better here because the basis behind it was honest… manufactured scarcity.

  31. Mike says:

    The more aid money is paid out the happier China and India become because all this money flows straight out to them….thanks to Amazon, Walmart, Costco, IBM, Apple and the other outsourcing masters…sure! Keep printing more!

  32. tommy runner says:

    lets see so theres 32+ mil .. wait listen, its getting closer, sounds like is that an arrogance whistle? … say, that’s no whistle.
    I guess, the colgate invisible shield finally got ‘em (ty alice).

  33. BuySome says:

    Mayor Wolf, this is what happens when you allow everyone in Pleasantville to use whatever colors of paint they choose! All hell breaks loose and no one can agree on a set of rules to be kind and courteous to one another. Please forward stimulus funds for the repair of the soda fountain so we can get on with listening to Buddy ravin’ on. Sorry, but my remote is broke and I can’t locate that TV repair man. What episode of the marathon is this? Cat! Cat! Fire?

  34. gnokgnoh says:

    Wow, the resentment at $600/wk is amazing. My brother is a musician in NY. His unemployment is half of what he was earning. Broadway is shut down, there are no gigs. I know lots of people like this. He would rather play music. They’re picking up piece work for political campaigns after next week. Good grief.

    More important, Trump and the Republicans would never have negotiated this money, if they weren’t pushed hard by the House, who gave up too much in the negotiation, but still did better than after the 2008 market crash. The big difference was that unemployment was continued for 18 months under Obama. We’ll see, this time.

    • Petunia says:

      Funny how the govt never complains about the guys who get million dollar bonuses after driving their companies into bankruptcy.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        I believe that lack of our guv mint employees complaining about the bonuses is due to those bonuses being the source of a significant portion of the bribery of those same guv mint folks,,,
        Sorry I do not have a reference for this, but IMO if one looks carefully at the above board transfers to each and every guv mint person, or almost, and then looks carefully at their legal purchases, and compare both with their assets, vacations, bank accounts in Cayman Islands, etc., and especially assets owned by/in name of spouses, cousins, aunts and uncles, etc., etc., this would become fairly clear to even us with low FQ.

  35. MJ says:

    Timbers and Petunia,
    We have John Bolton’s book; wait for Michael Cohen’s.
    After 5? Bankruptcy filings that put many a working person under, and living in a golden Manhattan apartment with not an ounce of philanthropy in his bones – now he’s for the working man?
    A pretty consistent picture emerges of a person with no history of public service or activism. Just the rampaging greed Russia copied (a refreshing change from Stalin) and an inability to show any real human feeling except anger.

  36. MJ says:

    I appreciate your writing and regret straying too much into politics. It’s interesting to see others views, but
    virtually impossible to discuss meaningfully in light of a lack of mutually agreed upon facts.
    Wishing our country a return to an understanding of, and respect for, good policies and governance in both major parties.

  37. CRV says:

    Is it possible that there is a shift from state to federal programs?
    For instance when someone formerly working on contract, now works on call (zero-hours contract we call that over here).
    If so, it is not an improvement, but at least someone still has some work.

  38. Lisa_Hooker says:

    A slightly related question. Considering the current backlog in US courts, does anyone here with a legal background have any guess as to how long it will take the courts to clear the coming tsunami of bankruptcies. Seems as though civil courts could be even more buried for even more years. Bankruptcy temporarily paralyses commerce.

    • gnokgnoh says:

      It’s not just the tsunami of bankruptcies, which are all filed in federal court. It’s the foreclosures in state and county courts. It’s also the deferred trials and cases, both criminal and civil. Harris County (Houston) has over 35,000 criminal cases in backlog.

      After 2008, it took years to catch up on the foreclosure cases.

  39. Augusto says:

    This is part of wider problem with Journalism. They are trained to write, but they have very little experience or technical training in the area they are writing about, especially finance. Add in that journalism is poorly paid, dominated by young grads, and a shrinking industry, and you have the mediocrity that is. In short, a lot of there stuff, is just blah-blah-blah to fill a page and make a deadline. Oh, yeah, and they can’t add…..I am shocked the number of times I see simple mathematical errors in news articles.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Agree Aug,
      Many with not much knowledge about health or medical either IMO, but continue to spout stuff that is frequently borderline dangerous and sometimes egregiously so.
      Can’t do math, and many times cannot edit the spell check or auto complete to realize that although the word is spelled correctly and sounds correct, it is the wrong word.
      The young grad part is likely the largest contributor; unfortunately, even folks with Master’s degrees are frequently ”functional illiterates with general knowledge less than required for a HS diploma 60 years ago and know nothing beyond their vocational training… very sad indeed.

    • BuySome says:

      You’ve got some of it. Go back pre-internet when a dilligent reporter had to do legwork collecting accurate information from documents, conducting interviews, and much more in order to develop the story. They would write in-depth articles knowing an editor had to play cut-to-fit, all of which took on more time while still carrying the regular load of meeting the need to churn out other coverage. Then one day the TV babies just show up with cameras to steal the story that they have culled from your hard work. And naturally, they ruin it all with their typical bull while getting all the credit, applause, and $$$. What kind of people do you think will fill the shoes of those reporters after they just give up and quit or retire? Wolf may be experiencing a bit of an old known frustration transferred into a speed-of-light world, but at least he runs his own show and can maintain quality. Keep the chin up.

    • Andrei says:

      I also noticed that quite often the parts of the article doesn’t fit together, so I struggle to understand the line of reasoning or it just doesn’t make sense. My idea that it could be the editor who had to trim the article to trim it to the limit – in a hurry and without proper understanding of the details.

      • Augusto says:

        Maybe, but from friends of mine who used to be journalists, they claim most publications have virtually no editors now (used to be layers of editors) and if they do, they are much younger/less qualified than in the past. Its just about getting something in the space now.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Yes, the people that I call the “grizzled editors” who know this stuff have all been laid off or have been early-retired long ago. Too expensive.

          It’s great to have young reporters, but you gotta have some old hands on board that teach them the ropes and point them in the right direction and look over their shoulder and fix stuff. That’s not happening anymore in many publications.

  40. MonkeyBusiness says:

    The hits keep on coming. Schlumberger just laid off 21K people.

    That’s a lot.

    Come first week of August though, the BLS will report unemployment below 10%

  41. Nik says:

    I would simply like to remind everyone of a old pre-fake news quote..”Figures Never lie..But Lairs Figure” lololol aloha

  42. Timo says:

    Wolf, I’m curious to get your take on this article. In brief, it’s showing that the data chaos and complete disconnect from the monthly UE survey’s may be a result of poor record keeping and processing by the states.

    “…For example, the DOL report released yesterday suggests that in the week ending July 4, Pennsylvania had 3.4 million continuing claims for PUA — or more than four times the 815,000 continuing claims under the state’s UI program. If that 3.4 million figure actually reflected current PUA recipients, it would mean that over half of the 6.4 million Pennsylvanians in the civilian labor force in June 2020 were currently collecting benefits from the PUA program.”

    • Wolf Richter says:

      What we know is that states are slow in processing PUA claims and two states still have not processed any, and other states process them in batches. Florida is way behind. If anything, PUA will give on giving until all states are caught up processing their claims.

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