The Census Bureau’s Grim Take on the Employment Shock During the Pandemic: Not Improving Yet

Low income earners got crushed. Many high-income earners could work-from-home.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Trying to figure out what the actual unemployment situation in the US is has become tricky. The government produces two major indicators that contradict each other. The Department of Labor said last Thursday that 30.2 million people continued to claim state or federal unemployment insurance, based on actual unemployment claims that were processed, however behind they may still be. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics asserted that the labor market has improved rapidly since April, and that in June, unemployment was down to 17.8 million people.

There is a huge difference between the 30.2 million people on unemployment insurance rolls, as per the Labor Department’s weekly tally of unemployment claims, and the assertion that only 17.8 million people are unemployed, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In recent weeks, the Census Bureau has weighed in with its own weekly Household Pulse Survey, which shows a labor market that is still in terrible shape and may be getting worse, and the pain has spread far and wide into households.

The Census Bureau wisely doesn’t pretend to measure the number of unemployed, or the unemployment rate per se, because this would contradict the Bureau of Labor Statistics directly and everyone that cites the BLS unemployment rate. Instead, the Census Bureau shows from a different angle just how far and wide unemployment has spread as a grim reality.

The Census started the Household Pulse Survey in response to the Pandemic. Its “Week 1” was based on surveys sent to households in the week from April 23 through May 5.

This start date was well into the crisis. According to the BLS, April was the peak of the crisis, and according to the BLS, the unemployment recovery took off in May and June. But this was not the case in the data from the Labor Department. And it was not the case in the data from the Census Bureau.

“Experienced a loss of employment income since March 13?”

One of the questions the Census asks households is this: “Have you, or has anyone in your household experienced a loss of employment income since March 13, 2020?” yes or no, for whatever reason, not just layoffs, but also illness, having to care for a relative, etc. So, this is not a measure of “unemployment” per se, but of how the Pandemic has touched work-based incomes.

The latest survey was for “Week 12” – data collected from July 16 through July 21. It showed that of the adults (aged 18+) in the US, an astounding 51.2% had experienced a “loss of employment income” for whatever reason during the Pandemic. This was up from 47.0% during “Week 1” ended May 5:

Low income earners got crushed.

By income category, it is clear that the lowest paid workers were the most impacted by the loss of income, with the top income category being the least impacted. This splits into the types of occupations: lower-paid workers in the service jobs of the restaurant and hotel industry and other sectors that got totally crushed, and with the highest-paid jobs being most suitable to working-from-home:

% of Adults experiencing loss of employment income since March 13, by income category:

    Less than $25,000 60.1%
    $25,000 – $34,999 58.2%
    $35,000 – $49,999 57.3%
    $50,000 – $74,999 51.6%
    $75,000 – $99,999 47.2%
    $100,000 – $149,999 45.9%
    $150,000 – $199,999 36.5%
    $200,000 and above 33.0%

This “loss of employment income” varies by state, depending on numerous factors, including the states that got hit early and hard by the virus, and states with specific industries that shut down, such as casinos in Nevada, and states that have recently gotten hit by big outbreaks.

Across the US in Week 12, 51.1% of the adults reported a loss of employment income since March 13. Here are the 12 worst-hit states:

  1. Nevada: 65.6%
  2. California: 58.6%
  3. New York: 58.1%
  4. Mississippi: 56.2%
  5. Michigan 56.0%
  6. Hawaii: 55.8
  7. New Jersey: 55.4
  8. Louisiana: 54.6%
  9. Rhode Island: 54.0%
  10. Texas 53.5%
  11. Illinois: 52.5%
  12. Oregon: 52.4%

Done “ANY work” for the last 7 days?

To drill into the current work situation, the survey asks: “In the last 7 days, did you do ANY work for either pay or profit?” Yes or no, including all kinds of jobs and self-employment. What’s important here is to compare the results for Week 12 to Week 1 to see if this has improved – which it should have improved a lot, based on the BLS data.

Alas, in both Week 1 and in Week 12, 48% reported not having done any work over the “last 7 days.” Unchanged.

But Week 12 was the time of summer jobs, and in the age group of 18-24-year-olds, this improved by 6 percentage points, to 45% not having done any work over the past 7 days in Week 12. For other age groups it didn’t look so good:

  • Unchanged for 25-39-year-olds, at 37%.
  • Worsened for 40-54-year-olds by 1 point, to 36%.
  • Worsened for 55-64-year-olds by 1 point, to 46%

This data from the Census Bureau corroborates the data from the Labor Department that the damage to employment has been huge, and widespread, and that it is perhaps shifting, but that the big recovery in May and June that the BLS has asserted is not yet visible in the data outside the BLS’ own fanciful math.

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  180 comments for “The Census Bureau’s Grim Take on the Employment Shock During the Pandemic: Not Improving Yet

  1. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    These are stunning numbers, and if the survey is correct it makes the Great Depression look like Christmas in Sun Valley.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      iPhone sales are up 8%.

      Great Depression this ain’t. Just like the last Credit Crisis was NOT a Credit Crisis. When you can still get a loan at single digit interest rate …. Credit Crisis it wasn’t.

      The next stimulus has to be more targeted. Seems like some people who don’t need the money are just using the stimulus for splurging. People who really need the money should be given extra, while others who have jobs shouldn’t get any. The blanket approach might as well be transfer payment to the tech sector.

      • TruckMan says:

        The system is incapable of addressing the problem. There is too complex a bureaucracy, no ability or desire on the part of the senior decision-makers to act fast enough, and any attempt to genuinely solve the problem would require (1) admitting the scale of it, (2) revealing the underlying unemployment/inflation/etc that the official stats have been covering up for over a decade, and (3) not help either main party in the run-up to the most important Presidential Election in 50 years at least. Fixing the problem cannot happen, and every day that passes makes the number of people disadvantaged larger, the depth of their disadvantage deeper (remember that 60%-ish do not even have 2 weeks savings), and the prospects of a change in circumstances less likely.

      • WellFought says:

        Government caused the problem. It will not solve it. The “stimulus” is an economic transfer of funds from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. Let businesses fail. The Federal Reserve and Congress are fixing things for themselves and the wealthy.

        • Jdog says:

          What people fail to realize is that the money the government is giving away is borrowed. That means a large increase in the debt, and a corresponding increase in debt service. At some point the government will increase taxes to service the debt. There is no free lunch.

        • Happy1 says:

          Large portions of this stimulus are solely directed to the poor and the working class. They will not pay the federal debt that is being accumulated, the wealthy will.

          The Fed related stimulus on the other hand largely accrues to asset holders and should be halted and unwound immediately.

      • Petunia says:


        Since the govt put the people on the unemployment line, they should pay them for all the misery they have caused. Maybe the $600 a week is not enough.

        The political parties are playing with the lives of Americans to play election politics. And yes, we can see it plain as day.

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          The government put some people on the UE, and for others, it’s free iPhones.

          Some are benefiting, some are losing out. The former should not be given any, and the later should be given more. It’s simple.

        • Petunia says:


          Only people who have been fired from their jobs get unemployment. If they leave voluntarily, they don’t get it. So I don’t get what you are complaining about.

          BTW, people looking for work need that phone.

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          Petunia, BS. People need smartphones, they don’t need brand new iPhones.

          But hei, Americans are entitled. No big surprise.

          Also the 1200 checks don’t take into unemployment into account. Those should be abolished for the employed. And obviously, you can’t get more than when you are employed. It’s established some people are getting more.

        • ThePetabyte says:

          The iPhone comments are interesting. I have told people blatantly that you can save hundreds of dollars by switching to a comparable Android, and they still claim that most Androids are inferior without having done any research on them. There is a stigma that will not go away due to willful ignorance.

        • Petunia says:


          You have no right to impose your value judgements on others, especially since you might be wrong due to your lack of understanding.

          Re: the iphone

          I don’t have one, I have a $14 smartphone, but that is all I need.

          I know people someone who owns a personal cheap smartphone and an employer supplied iphone for work. They claim the iphone is a superior phone, better software, and camera. These features are important to them. The quality of the camera could be the reason the iphone was purchased, or the larger size of the phone for the display.

          Maybe the people who bought the expensive phone need it to make more money. You have no idea.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          In this case Pet, you are not correct in most cases: “Only people who have been fired from their jobs get UI” is not true.
          IF they are fired ”for cause” , in most states they do not get any UI. Some of the time employers do not fight it, but in my clear experience in FL,CA,OR,TN, AL, and OH, every single employer did fight it, at least to the extent of a couple phone calls, and the fired for cause worker did not get anything,,, quite similar to the Workers Comp scandals that have gone on in the SE. (but not at all in CA or OR BTW)
          I claimed UI once in FL, and had to bring testimonies from several good coworker folks in that employer to prove I was ”fired” in an attempt, successful to my shame, to shut me up,,, but I really needed the money to last until I could find my next job in that case.
          In most cases, those who are eligible for UI have been ”laid off,” or some verbiage with that meaning, NOT ”fired”.

        • Wearing a Mask says:

          It’s just the republicans. I don’t know why you say ” political parties” when the Dems have been open about wanting to give more then $600. They also have been wanting to do a lockdown so the virus goes away so we can actually get back to business as normal but the GOP disagrees.

          They are almost fully back to normal in South Korea with 50 cases a DAY to the US’ 80k (surprisingly going down once Trump removed the CDC and put his own numbers in).

        • Jdog says:

          Where do you think the money the government is giving away comes from?????

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          “Imposing a value”? WTF. If you spend money on something you don’t need, and then you queue up at the local food bank, you are effectively stealing from others.

          The economy is going to be difficult, instead of spending 500 to 1K getting an expensive smartphone, people can save the money just in case of an emergency.

          Supposedly a lot of people can’t come up with 400 dollars for emergencies, but for a 500 dollars and above smartphone (especially during a pandemic), voila, here’s the moolah.

          Grind these people to dust. Thieves are thieves no matter they are upper class or lower class.

        • Happy1 says:

          @wearing a mask,

          Paying people more money than they are earning at work to stay home is Orwellian upside down economics and just plain crazy, do you think that money is free? It will be paid back with interest. You cite South Korea, how about more valid comparison with Western Europe that is culturally similar to the US, there is no shutdown that can last long enough for a vaccine, we need to limit the exposure of vulnerable population and open the rest of the economy, this is being done safely in my state, CO, and it can be done elsewhere, we aren’t Korean.

      • Nick says:

        Those of us who have jobs shouldn’t get any???? With all due respect jack….I’ve had an extra $1000 a month of unplanned childcare expenses a month since March!!! Schools are closed, camps shut down etc. What are a you a retired boomer? Try raising young children nowadays!! The wealthiest country in the world has the worst childcare and complete lack of healthcare insurance portability. America is circling the drain, why any of us decide to have kids anymore is beyond me. America is one of the worst countries to raise a family in….

        • SimpleLife says:

          Hi Nick – From the UNICEF website “1 in 3 children throughout the world live in multidimensional poverty”. We can always do better as a society, but I believe American children have it better than most, including available food and shelter, a good public education system to include post secondary opportunities, readily available healthcare services, and a multitude of career opportunities. I only wish more would take proactive responsibility before having children, as it’s no mystery they are expensive to raise in the U.S. The future irony may be that our children despise us for adding even more to their national debt, when instead we should have weathered this pandemic better. “Camps shut down”…lends to my point exactly. I side with no additional funds unless absolutely necessary. Gen x’r here, co-parent of two grown sons, we got through the unexpected expenses, adapted when we needed to, you will too.

        • Paul says:

          You made those kids.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Americans don’t need to have kids anymore. We can fill any need from South of us, and get more from the Levant and Africa. We’re doing it already. Are having American kids a status thing like having an iPhone?

        • CommonCents says:

          Typical millennial retort… call someone a ‘boomer’ when they don’t agree with your absurd entitlement focused mindset.

          Retirees should -not- have received any stimulus payments. By definition, they had no loss of ‘income’ and their SS checks and pensions arrived as usual. This was the first mistake of CARES, the second mistake was the fiscal foolishiness of throwing $600 a -week- at anyone who filed unemployment via their state… which indicates most members of Congress are clueless. Any federal supplement should have been based on a percentage of the state-based unemployment checks. Congress instantly created a disincentive for people to return to work, and left a lot of self-employed people and sole proprieters hanging out to dry. Meanwhile, ‘workers’ are making more by not working.

      • HeavyMettle says:

        I think you mean down 8% on iPhone sales..and the Great Recession was triggered by a credit crunch..just like last September’s REPO meltdown. Same market conditions were in play.
        We’re still a few years away from the bottom..The Greatest is coming

      • Anonymous says:

        My millionaire friend (retired) bought a new set of golf clubs with his stimulus check.

        Thanks Uncle Sam;((

        • BuySome says:

          A good investment as they can be used as weapons, are portable, and do not require a power source. In the meantime he can stay healthy walking the greens. The rich who worked for it aren’t stupid, it’s the ones who get it handed to them that don’t know what to properly use it on.

      • CL says:

        I’m not sure that iPhone sales being up is actually an indicator of splurging. I for one went out and acquired two new computers and a bunch of furniture. I also boosted my home internet to gamer speeds. I didn’t do it because it was fun or because I had cash but because now every kid needs a device and a desk, and we have to sustain four online meetings at once because each one is mission critical.

        Apart from that my non-food spending has all been home repairwork because it turns out that when you spend all your time inside you finally have to fix things.

        While this isn’t necessarily the Great Depression though it will need something like the New Deal to turn it around. Too much of our economy was based upon shipping around toy products and people just aren’t going to be buying those for a while. Unless we reorient our economy to hard investment in employment and infrastructure I fear that we will emerge from this much worse off, and we will stay that way.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Seneca’s Cliff,

      Make sure you understand that these are NOT unemployment numbers. This is a different view of the problem. You cannot compare them to unemployment data. What matters here is how they changed over the past weeks. And they have not gotten better since May — that’s the message to take home.

      • Carl Wilson says:

        Hawaii: very little Covid-19, very few tourists

        • Anthony A. says:

          People are not flying and the airlines have cancelled most flights. We can’t get to Hawaii by car.

        • CL says:

          Even in areas of my state where people can go by car, they aren’t. Too much risk for the people who live there, and too much risk for the visitors. The few people I know who do take road trips treat rest stops like plague factories, as they probably should.

      • Erle says:

        This is not the same as the banking crisis of twelve years ago. Back then it was the fatsos of Wall Street that were bust. With this lockdown crap they have ruined Main Street and small banks that were relatively sound back then.
        Now they will take down everyone.
        As an aside, I was tested and found to be negative. I commented to the nurse that it is hardly a revelation as I have been negative all of my life.

        • TruckMan says:

          Looking at the Covid stats is pointless, as the data is rubbish. Any number of reasons for all the classes of data to be over-declared, under-declared, or not declared, intentionally and unintentionally. Same for every western country, and furthermore those reasons vary regionally as well as nationally, e.g. Florida might over-declare deaths and under-declare cases, and Nevada vice versa.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        While I certainly agree with what you say, I really think THE most important aspect of this data from census rather than BLS is that the numbers from BLS have been ”cooked” for many decades, at least as long as I have been trying to figure out how to forecast labor costs, approximately 40 years at this point.
        The UI system is and has been just as rigged and just as poor an indicator as the CPI, and has been used to steal more from all working people for decades, now including all of us on SS, but mainly to prevent fair and equitable wages improvements.

      • Mike says:

        In the % of those that loss employment income I would assume are those that took pay cuts but remained employed. This would impact the percentages.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        This is a new survey, so the quality of the data are not well benchmarked, and one must be very, very careful not to overinterpret. How confident are we that the survey is reaching a truly representative population sample, and getting accurate responses?

        Is a shift from 47% to 51% statistically significant, or does it reflect “49% with a +/-2% error”? Or could it be that some subset of the survey population stopped responding? Or that survey responses are shaded by shifts in mood rather than actual finances? Most people don’t track their income perfectly so survey responses may be prone to memory-bias issues.

        Also, what’s the expected normal level? It’s not zero, because jobs change all the time.

    • DanS86 says:

      Back then the Fed couldn’t print money so easily. You see, all that’s needed is for the Fed to print money. Just keep a printing.

    • My first thought was, “which way to the Dust Bowl?”

      • BuySome says:

        Who’s playing? Oakies versus Aggies? Plenty of seating available on the back of the truck. Brine ur oan shine!

    • wkevinw says:

      Great Depression vs 2020:
      – Unemployment averaged ~20% between 1930 and 1939.
      – No national, government-based unemployment system existed until ~1935
      – There were so many confusing causes of the Great Depression that policy makers and business leaders were practically paralyzed about what to do
      – in 2020 most job loss has been “temporary” furlough, with a known (proximate) cause, the virus

      I would take 2020

      • Álvaro says:


        Sure thing ;)

      • Trailer Trash says:

        When one strips away all the hand-waving the cause of any depression is always the same: financial parasites never stop sucking blood via the miracle of compound interest until the host (people who actually do useful work) is nearly dead.

        Looks like this time the host will stay comatose.

        The host could be revived via a Debt Jubilee, but that could kill the parasites. It would certainly reduce their control. Dear Leaders will burn it all before they let that happen.

  2. Alison says:

    Ng…..I have it…and my husband is in I.C. with it …I will gladly pay your airfare so I can pass it to you. Then you can see if it’s a scam…

  3. Jenny Howard says:

    Excellent column. Great job.

    What makes your work special is that you have access to the same data as everyone else, but you dig a layer or a few deeper than most reporters, and it almost always yields new insights.

    As for what today’s data suggests for tomorrow’s Covid Economy… well, I think you and I are on the same page.

  4. MCH says:

    Fancy math, AKA complex math. Takes a bit of time for people to work that out. It takes the truth, chews it up a bit and then put it into a hole where time is indeterminate, and then you dig it up a few weeks later, and viola, BLS data. ?

    But the percentages are pretty horrific, I am curious to see the actual #s behind the percentages, although it would be somewhat meaningless, I would guess there are more errors the higher up the income curve you go.

  5. JBird4049 says:

    Why would COVID19 be a big scam? Unless it is the con artists, flim flamers, hustlers, and the psychopaths that are running the FIRE sector getting wealthier while allowing the small businesses and the majority of the population to go die? In that case it is a scam.

  6. timbers says:

    Let me fix that:

    The Federal Reserve wisely doesn’t pretend to use an accurate measure inflation, or the inflation rate per se, because this would contradict the facts we can all see directly right before our eyes, and everyone that cites the fraudualed CPI inflation rate instead of Stock Market indices which show us the true measure of Fed induced inflation. Instead, the CPI shows a completely fraudulated non reality from pf a different inflation used to crush the working class, and shows us just how far and wide our governments takes our money and gives it the wealthy, and how this has spread as a grim reality.

    • Happy1 says:

      The CPI is a complete fraud. Look at housing, college, and medical costs, which are the biggest costs for most households. Look at food, without substitution of chicken for beef. Look at cost of restaurant food.

  7. tommy runner says:

    I think there should be some worker tax withholding info released soon, that will provide some additional insight on the w2 side.​

    • John says:

      Good call. That will be very interesting.

    • Josap says:

      UE is taxable income. Each person can decide to have the taxes withheld or not. With so many receiving UE the tax withholding may be a bit skewed.

  8. timbers says:

    Reminder: it all comes back to Covid.

    It has become clear that the reason Covid has affected America negatively more than most nations, comes down to 2 unique facts.

    1). Because America has such a high number of people without access to affordable healthcare, those most likely to get Covid avoid treatment and tracing, thus spreading Covid more that in nations that provided healthcare. Those without access to healthcare show a high avoidance of tracing.

    2). America does not have a widely available test that produces immediate accurate results, and this defeats tracing which is effective only with quick accurate test results. And because those most likely to get Covid in the US don’t have access to affordable healthcare and will resist tracing, and will more likely engage in actions that spread Covid.

    The great advances in vaccines happened in America when government funded basic healthcare research such as vaccines, and towering figures such as Jonas Salk refused to patent the vaccines he discovered because he wanted to help his fellow mankind.

    It’s time to once again return to American greatness and take the profit out of vaccines and healthcare.

    • Happy1 says:

      This is completely incorrect. Many countries in Europe have comprehensive insurance and higher case rates and death rates than the US. The US has better than average testing relative to most of Europe, testing is not a limiting factor since late May, although it certainly was a factor early. There is no data you can cite that people without insurance are resistant to tracing, I don’t even know where you would have such data, and contact tracing at this stage of the pandemic is almost completely meaningless.

      The problems in the US, as in most countries now, are concentrated in the working class, because they do hands on work, and in young adults, who have largely abandoned health guidelines both here and in Europe (Google Berlin COVID-19 rave for one European example).

  9. Khowdung Flunghi says:

    “One big scam” – perhaps not:

    Australia’s second-most populous state Victoria said on Tuesday that 500 military personnel will be deployed to enforce COVID-19 isolation orders, with anyone caught in breach of those rules facing hefty fines as high as $14,250.

    Latin America broke through five million confirmed cases of COVID-19, a Reuters tally showed, underscoring the region’s position as the area of the world hardest hit by the pandemic. It has already reported more than 200,000 deaths.

    Brazil has reported that coronavirus cases in the country rose by 16,641 to 2,750,318 while deaths rose by 561 to 94,665.

    More than 18.17 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus as of Monday. More than 10.8 million have recovered, and more than 691,000 have died.

  10. John Taylor says:

    The “loss of employment income” question is certainly an important one.

    Waitresses get much less tips for carry-out then for dine-in. Hair cutters have more restrictions and cut less hair in a given period of time, so also less tips.
    Gig workers might still have some work that pays less … like making less on Uber eats trips than on driving people to and from bars or concerts.

    Covid is certainly serious, and I’m worried about the possibility of permanent damage from the blood clots and attacks of various organs. That being said, I’m still much more worried about the economic damage.

    We can come through this as a country, but we do need to rely on an effective government response to prevent this economic damage from turning into a humanitarian catastrophe.

    As of now, we only hear politicians discussing short-term band aids rather than comprehensive strategies. Most seem to think that high unemployment is like bad weather and just goes away by itself. It’s quite a bit more complicated than that, but I think most working people realize that these jobs won’t just come back and that new ones won’t just sprout in their place.

    • Xabier says:

      Politicians and economists are generally remarkably complacent about unemployment spikes as they are untouched by them -and believe their pensions to be safe as well.

      The truly alarming dimension of this business collapse, caused not by the virus but by foolish and clumsy policy responses, is that 1/ it has crushed or severely damaged businesses and sectors which more or less sailed through 2008, GFC I; and, 2/ may alter behaviour, patterns of commerce, etc, permanently – again, utterly unlike GFC I.

    • gnokgnoh says:

      John Taylor, you wrote, “Covid is certainly serious, and I’m worried about the possibility of permanent damage from the blood clots and attacks of various organs.”

      Yeah, the dead part for 150,000+ people is certainly a bummer, too. At the current doubling rates, we’ll be at 300,000 dead by the election and 600,000 by February 1.

    • JC says:

      “Hair cutters have more restrictions and cut less hair in a given period of time, so also less tips.”

      A hair cut in Scranton now comes with a mandatory $20 tip

      • Anthony A. says:

        Hair shops around here have raised their prices about 20%. Tips are not mandatory, but still are given. What cost me $15 + $5 tip is now $20 + $5 tip.

      • sierra7 says:

        I’ve learned to cut my own hair and it looks just fine!
        That being said, I feel absolutely terrible for all those on the lower economic ladder who have lost their jobs; the small businesses that probably will not re-open…….that is a tremendous loss to the country.
        The politicians in “Swampland” are too busy maneuvering what they can”slip” into the newest relief bill serving the interests of those who have purchased space.
        Filed my 2019 taxes first week of April 2020; no refund check as of yet. And, the IRS site implores us not to call the offices.
        This country is now descending into “Whacko” territory!
        Stay safe and healthy!

  11. California Bob says:

    We need a leader.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      Sorry, he is currently preoccupied with banning Tick Tock and another round of Golf working session. Won’t this pesky little CV19 just go away on its own already?

    • TruckMan says:

      We’ve already got hundreds of them! The President, the Senate, HR, Governors, Mayors; every billionaire who contributes to one or other, or frequently both, main parties……..

    • Jdog says:

      We do not have leaders in the US. We have public servants. Only authoritarian governments have leaders. Of course that is what one segment of our population is working to implement here….

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      This is still a capitalist, entrepreneurial nation at its roots. There are opportunities out there, and you can create opportunity yourself, but you have to learn how.

      I do fear that we’re at the end of a really long period of stability and a lot of people are habituated into thinking that “the system will take care of me”.

      Instead, your old job isn’t coming back, and your old industry may not even return to its former heights. You have to get over that, get ideas flowing and find ways you can contribute. In the end an economy is nothing more that people working together to create and exchange value.

      When the old ways break down, people need to learn how to sniff & scurry to get the new cheese, and innovate and explore to create cheese.

    • BuySome says:

      First a lead of rope, the a leader.

  12. William Smith says:

    I hope the mom and pop and small specialty stores do come back. But until the shop rents fall substantially, that is only a dream. And if they rise quickly again (because asset bubble), then we are still no better off. I love your “scamdemic” description. I was using “pan-panic” but think yours is better. I wonder why the media is constantly bombarding us with “zombie apocalypse”. There has to be some reason and someone making shirtloads of money by killing economies on an industrial scale. Perhaps it’s a strategy similar to the “Princes of the Yen” (see youtube) to crash the economies, with central banksters ending up with total control. Everything will be digital, monitored and centrally controlled. It’s a Soviet wet dream really.

    • coalman says:

      Creeping financial communism, Vulture Capitalism and Totalitarian Communism are two sides of the same coin, ordinary people suppressed to slavery to serve a Bank through compound interest on debt, or a rising tax burden to Government to support a bloated bureaucracy that exerts political control.

      • Jdog says:

        It is not just financial communism, it is also political. We are moving steadily towards an authoritarian system based on communism.

    • The Bob who cried Wolf says:

      Where did my initial reply go? Did it get moderated off? I thought my scamdemic description was spot on and appreciate you thought that as well.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        The Bob who cried Wolf,

        I get to “scamdemic” and hit the delete button. It’s automatic. Human lives are at stake. Maybe in February, before anyone really knew what was going on, there was some room to say that. Not anymore.

        • Stephen C. says:

          I get it, but for what it’s worth, I read “scam-demic” as describing the Congressional giveaways to Wall Street, the pandemic being the excuse.

    • Jdog says:

      There is a systematic war being waged against small business by corporations and globalists. The only way to level the playing field is to raise corporate taxes, but of course that will not happen because the corporations own the government….

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        @Jdog – the corporations own both parties too, so “vote for the other party” doesn’t work to effect change. One has to take the party over from within. Sanders came close on his side. Trump got a lot of votes too. But the bipartisan swamp creatures multiply every time Congress lets the piggies get a shot at the trough…

        Sometimes I think you’d practically have to defund the entire government to break the corruption-bloat-corruption-bloat cycle.

  13. lenert says:

    This will all get cleared up once we’ve gotten rid of the pesky census.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      Nothing will be cleared up until the gerrymandering of political districts is completed using the new census data.

  14. Erle says:

    Mister Richter, you have an impressive grasp of the English language. I listen to your audio files and you still have an unmistakable pronunciation that shows a German tilt.
    I wonder at what time in your life did you develop such a superior writing relation with a new tongue. I was never immersed even in the slightest to learn a differing language. In sixth grade I signed up for German but the teacher just had to hang the moniker of Ludwig on me for class purposes that was a laughingstock for the rest in the class; a bad start that never went anywhere.
    I am impressed with people that can use several languages properly. Do not take this for impertinence as it is nothing of the sort.

  15. Erle says:

    I truly screwed over my employees by keeping them on to produce our metallic product. I used the loophole of being a steel producer or fabricator as being essential to deny the boys a decent paycheck to watch the crap on Netflix.
    By continuing, I saved our customer, and a likely 1000 jobs for them by ignoring the piffle from the goomint. Their customers got the product and all was well.
    LTL truckers and others got some business along with the plater and tooling suppliers. It was of some good help that I read and support Wolfstreet to find out what is going on before the rest that listen to MSM for their cues. I do not care at all about real estate news, but I read them for the insight on sentiment.
    It seems that my company is getting a slight bit of appreciation for continuing and not bailing on the customer when that would have been some excuse. I will press the point that they were able to rely upon us to be sure that they had the tools to continue, even if at a depressed level.
    I can even teach children how to read and do arithmetic if the educational establishment is in their underwear watching Jerry Springer re-runs.

    • tom15 says:

      Plating company near me & most of their employees say
      thank you.
      We never quit working as well. Never bothered to see if we were deemed “essential”. The fact that politicians were still employed told me all I needed to know about “essential”.

  16. Lee says:

    A potentially unsafe operation has been detected in your request to this site

    Your access to this service has been limited. (HTTP response code 403)

    If you think you have been blocked in error, contact the owner of this site for assistance.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Yeah, this stuff happens occasionally. Even to me when I try to sign in to my own website after I accidentally did something I didn’t meant o do… The internet is full of safety measures to prevent DOS attacks and the like, and sometimes they go awry.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Awry! I have had that word, little used, in my vocabulary for ages. Your using it today just popped it into my mind: that’s what happened to our government – it has gone awry. Perfect!

  17. Jonathan Vause says:

    ‘If’ is doing a lot of work there

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Amen. But the way to world is going, I believe it’s likely that isolation will be the only way to survive one thing or another, yet to come.

      Some visionaries say “we” must leave the plant for interstellar destinations. But I won’t be able to afford the trip, so “we” isn’t me.

      I’m isolated now, my way, to the extent I can devise and afford and likely will possibly stay that way for the rest of my life.

  18. Nate says:

    I’ve been fortunate that my area seems to be the beneficiary of a combination of demographic retiree influx plus maybe some bailouts from the megacities so my particular niche has been busting it out this year. Fortunately I can arrange social distancing quite easily to continue operations..

    After July tho, things have slowed down some so am really just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I do get a lot of variation in job count during a normal year but we will see how it pans out. Can’t say it’s been a normal year so far for sure.

  19. Al Loco says:

    All of the data makes sense in my world. For a manufacturer, the slowdown prompted gutting from the bottom while the executives formed a task force to come up with new ways to dissinfect door handles.

  20. Lance Manly says:

    If they don’t get the answers they want why do they keep doing it?

  21. David Hall says:

    There are reports of growing food insecurity and hunger in America. One author showed a mile long line at a food bank. On the other hand there is also an American obesity epidemic shortening lifespans.

    Some got more pay for their leisure time than those carrying the heavy load at work. This is not justice.

    • Jdog says:

      The same people lining up for free food have newer cars and cell phones. There is no food security in the US, only people with problems with their priorities.
      I have seen public employees making 6 figures a year, at food banks stocking up.
      There seems to be no shame among Americans whatsoever accepting charity. That is a sad comment.

      • California Bob says:

        The almond co-op well sell our crop to sent out a letter indicating we might be eligible for the ‘Coronavirus Food Assistance Program’ (aka ‘free money for farmers’). Our last crop, harvested last year, was obviously not impacted at all and, so far, it’s business as usual this year, so I didn’t apply. Some relatives, who grow citrus, applied for the money though I haven’t heard of them having any difficulties due to covid. They will cash the check if they get one.

        • BuySome says:

          Citrus in California? Did the axeman from Caterpillar fall off the D90 and break his neck. Did one of those giant avacados hit him in the noggin? They’ve had the last 30 years to finish off what was left in the state. Someone’s not working hard enough! We need a dose famine, not rising prices. Who’s in charge down there?

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          Make it the COVID Recovery Assistance Program … C.R.A.P…. and then have C.R.A.P.’s new team get out and clean up?

      • wkevinw says:

        Yes, it’s very complicated when the country has a lot of wealth.

        During normal times nowadays, obesity is a much bigger problem than hunger (“food insecurity”). Obesity is a symptom of the larger societal problems where a lack of self-worth/respect comes about because of victim status. The elites like to keep this intact because they get to feel more virtuous than those who would like to get people jobs first.

        Welfare programs need to be a last resort, not the first. If they are first resort you get obesity, substance abuse, lack of initiative (such as education level, job skills), low connection with the larger society/community (so people will more easily riot), low family stability.

        It’s actually pretty understandable.

        • California Bob says:

          re: ” Obesity is a symptom of the larger societal problems where a lack of self-worth/respect comes about because of victim status.”

          Or maybe people just eat too damn much junk food and sit on their asses most of the day.

        • MarMar says:

          Some more pertinent reasons for obesity:

          The cheapest food is the unhealthiest – part of this is things like subsidies for corn.

          In much of the country, our built environment forces people to drive everywhere, depriving them of many opportunities during the day to get a little exercise just by going to work, going to store, etc.

        • Happy1 says:

          I like California Bob…

  22. Macro Millenial says:

    The reason that unemployed people are half of the amount of people claiming unemployment insurance benefits is because you don’t have to be unemployed to recieve unemployment benefits! I am self employed and make about 150k a year. I didn’t experience a loss of income but since I couldn’t get new clients due to the caronavirus I qualified for unemployment benefits. $725 per week! I can tell you I most certainly did not need unemployment benefits. I presume this is why the unemployment claims are so high, if you make it available to more people, more people will take it.

  23. frank hvid petersen says:

    How come so many low paid income earners answer that they have lost income, given stories that many receive higher benefits than their normal payroll salary? Is it not true?

  24. frank hvid petersen says:

    ….and how can 48% per cent say they haven’t done any work, while the number is lower for all age categories? Just wonder :-)

    “Alas, in both Week 1 and in Week 12, 48% reported not having done any work over the “last 7 days.” Unchanged.

    But Week 12 was the time of summer jobs, and in the age group of 18-24-year-olds, this improved by 6 percentage points, to 45% not having done any work over the past 7 days in Week 12. For other age groups it didn’t look so good:

    Unchanged for 25-39-year-olds, at 37%.
    Worsened for 40-54-year-olds by 1 point, to 36%.
    Worsened for 55-64-year-olds by 1 point, to 46%”

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I left off the 65+ years old category because it’s essentially not relevant here. 78% of them didn’t work — given that most of them are retired. I was trying to focus on the prime working-age groups. Clearly, that decision turned out to make things more confusing, instead of less confusing.

      • frank hvid petersen says:


        But I still don’t get it as to squaring the story of unemployed receiving higher benefits than their normal pay and then the many low income people saying they have lost income???

  25. Russell says:

    We are refusing to lay anyone off. I work in an essential industry, surfactants. We made a quarter million pounds of hand sanitizer early on to donate to the support organizations. It’s crazy. We were running flat out the first few months, but things have dried up recently. You would think everyone would be washing their hands more than ever now. Maybe less laundry since everyone is working from home in their underwear!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Maybe everyone has pallets of hand sanitizers in their garage and don’t need anymore for a while?

      • California Bob says:

        Or they’ve been scared off by the 100+ and counting brands–all made in Mexico AFAIK–that are known to be contaminated with methanol and are toxic.

      • Nate says:

        Or they’ve decided that the Rona isn’t going to get them because that only happens to other people. That 20 second gold fish attention span is gonna kill us all.

        • Josap says:

          When all this started I bought 3 large bottles of hand sanitizer. Thinking I would need it when I went shopping or took light rail or … Nope. I go out very little and no longer use mass transit, I live within walking distance of what I need. I also have great younger neighbors who will do a bit of shopping for me.

          I also decided, early on, to use gloves when I went shopping. Now the hand sanitizer gets more use because I don’t like tossing all the plastic.

          Things evolved, I changed.

      • Russell says:

        The hand sanitizer was produced and given away freely as a humanitarian effort. People are begging for more but we haven’t made more because suppliers were gouging us on ethanol pricing. It’s the other household products we produce on a regular basis that aren’t selling.

    • MarMar says:

      I’m surprised you don’t know this: we now know that the virus is spread primarily through respiration, and does not spread by touching surfaces very much. So, reasonably, people are not spraying down surfaces and using hand sanitizer as much as they did in March, when we thought that was a major route of transmission.

  26. Just Some Random Guy says:

    When UE pays more than working (thanks to the $600/week federal supplement), is it any surprise a lot of people are on UE?

    • Jdog says:

      If you subsidize something, you get more of it. That is a simple fact.

    • Josap says:

      Receiving EU is the choice of the employer, not the employee. If there is a job to do and the employee refuses to work, there are no EU benefits paid.

      • Happy1 says:

        But many people are choosing to remain unemployed rather than taking less lucrative work. I do volunteer work with the poor and know one such person. Multiply by 10 million.

  27. Petunia says:

    Bureau of Labor Statistics — Statistics is the operative word.

    The numbers produced by statisticians are produced by modeling data. You don’t know what data the model is using and how, unless they publish the model itself, which is highly unlikely.

    Anything that comes out of a model is a manufactured number. These models are also not frozen in time, they could change from month to month, or even day to day. The statisticians will rarely reveal changes in modeling data unless the numbers from the old model will diverge wildly from the new model.

    The discrepancy in the BLS model could be from assumptions such as:

    1– most people on UI only get 26 weeks and some no longer qualify,

    2– they could assume most people find a job in less then 26 weeks and use that number before dropping them from the model.

    You just don’t know how they come up with this stuff.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Thanks for your knowledge and clarity once again Pet; never had seen that before.
      I have known for eva, as mentioned earlier, that the BLS numbers were a bunch of BS, and now I know the basis for the BS.
      And, still likely that similar to CPI, which is also nonsense, but clearly ”manipulated” to keep down wages, SS, etc., etc., I suspect BLS the same, and for the same reasons, eh?

      • Petunia says:

        The census data is probably more accurate because they usually just count things. They don’t estimate whether you exist or not.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          You’re right on about government models, but don’t extrapolate to all “statisticians.” Most of us work only with hard data. I often think of the government folks as “liars.”

    • Lee says:

      If you think the way the USA gets its unemployment numbers, you should see the methodology used in Australia – its a joke.

      First of all we only get monthly data. There is nothing on a weekly basis at all in regards to employment or unemployment. The tax offie started providing some data on weekly income, bu that is just a bunch of gross numbers.

      Second they use ’employment’ here to include full time and part time workers (casuals are included in this number I think). The headline usually reads something like:

      “Employment increased by 300,000 people last month”

      Then when you read the details you find out that the increase was 225,000 part time jobs and 75,000 full time jobs. Part time jobs are where you worked at least one hour a week. If you worked at three jobs for at least one hour a week that would be counted as three jobs. (This would be common where the worker being surveyed is a casual worker.)

      Sorry, but in the real world a part time job does not equate to a full time job.

      Then they use a survey that totals only 26,000 houses and they rotate 1/8th of the sample every month which then needs to be ‘adjusted’ to reflect the new incoming group’s characteristics if they differ from the old group.

      And don’t even get started on the current situation where nobody really knows anything with all the government payment plans, partial shutdows, and lockdowns.

  28. Coca Cola says:

    WTD? That’s “what the dang?”. First, it was Gain of Function laboratories and now you’re telling me this is some kind of hybrid like a striped bass or a slash pine. It’s bad enough that the Chinese have been experimenting and splicing human genes with the flavor of the day but this, if true; definitely is an act of state sponsored aggression.

  29. roddy6667 says:

    When you start a sentence with “if”, you can type anything afterwards.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      I think you meant, “IF you start a sentence with ”if”, you can type anything afterwards” eh?

  30. Paulo says:

    Terrific article and comments. Most of the comments (not all) miss an important point.

    If the virus is addressed and infection rates drop, the economy improves. It doesn’t improve for all sectors, obviously, but many aspects do improve. I live in such an area. We have strict adherence to our medical directives by choice, reinforced by law as required. Manufacturing, construction, etc doing well. Tourism, bars and restaurants etc, not so well. Travel by residents exploding, no US tourists allowed.

    You can’t mandate an economy with wishful thinking. It has to grow in a healthy medium, and that requires addressing the virus, first and foremost.

    In BC new cases range from 20-40 cases per day, population 5 million plus. Most of these are in the interior and have been caused by young party goers. One blueberry packing plant near Vancouver had an outbreak. There might be a Covid related death every few weeks. Because of the low case numbers effective contact tracing is possible and test results available in a few hours to one day, depending on when the test was done. Contacts are traced and tested right away. Where I live, Vancouver Island population 1 million, there is one active Covid case. Campgrounds are plugged with local travelers, stores look normal, and even dine-in restaurants are operating at reduced numbers. No bars for inside drinking, patio drinking with reduced numbers acceptable.

    Schools are going to fully open right after Labour Day, although the BC Teachers Union is asking for a 2 week delay because of the possible long weekend effects on infections. Regardless, the opening is being negotiated and local school district decisions will prevail and that approach is widely accepted. Elective surgeries are being ‘caught up’ and full medical services are available. I’m pretty sure there are no Covid cases in any of our hospitals.

    What does a trip to town look like? I put on a cloth mask in the grocery store. I would guess only 25% of shoppers wear a mask. When I go into another type of store I carry a cloth mask in and ask the clerks/staff what they would prefer….from a respectable distance. Most say no mask if we all keep our distance. When I went into the local Stihl dealership the clerk said, “As long as you don’t start humping my leg, we’re all good. And I won’t hump yours”. (Logging country….gotta love it).

    The difference? Leadership is being done by science and medical personnel. Parliamentary system seems more effective than other disjointed systems, even in minority situations (both federal and in BC.) People are working together. Plus, each province operates their own universal health program, partially funded by Ottawa with tight Federal standards.

    It’s all about the health outcomes. Everything else follows a natural resultant trajectory. If people are healthy, not so afraid, they go out and spend their money and others stay employed. Our unemployment rate is dropping and residents trust the stats.


    • lenert says:

      In the US, the executive branch is in court suing the legislative branch to invalidate the current healthcare law. Republican lawmakers have proposed no new healthcare law to replace it.

      • Jdog says:

        If the law is legal, and constitutional, then you have nothing to worry about. If it is not, it should not exist.

        • lenert says:

          Has already been judged constitutional by the highest court in the land. Not a fan of it myself. Point is, Canadians recognize healthcare as a basic human need. In the US we still think healthcare is optional.

        • Jdog says:

          Would you like a list of the unconstitutional laws approved by SCOTUS because of political bias and personal gains?
          To put the Federal Government in charge of judging itself is about as effective as allowing the police to police themselves.

          Any one who knows anything about how and why the Constitution was written knows the Federal Government has usurped powers never given it by the Constitution, and are therefore illegal.

      • BuySome says:

        Requiring insurance for a priveledge like driving is entirely legit. Requiring the purchase of anything private by virtue of birth is tantamount to violation of your rights. Provision of socialized actual healthcare (not insurance) can be effected as national security and general welfare under strict applications. That said, historians like to divide the court by periods of rule under a Chief Justice. But the fact is there has only been one First Supreme Court and it has had a history of decisions which have been at best questionable. There is political corruption, criminals in cloaks (yes, law violators), and arguably acts of treason against the very Constitutional Republic they swore to protect. Lifetime guarantees are only good for the life of the guarantor’s assets. Likewise, lifetime appointments are only as good as the life of the institution. High time to retire the entire 1st court and start the 2nd court. An amendment can solve this. And while a legal education is not an impediment to service, no practicing lawyer should ever be allowed to advance to this court…period!! We’ve seen how lawyers twist the sh*t out of everything they get their hand on. Their god is semanitics. Give me a patriot, not a mouthpiece.

        • Jdog says:

          The Supreme Court was never intended to rule by opinions. The Constitutionality of any law was intended to be judged by the Sovereign States whom are the only impartial judge of Federal actions. The Federal Government and the Supreme Court have abused the law, and usurped powers not granted to them by the Constitution and are reserved to the States and to the people.

        • MarMar says:

          “The Constitutionality of any law was intended to be judged by the Sovereign States whom are the only impartial judge of Federal actions.”

          If you’re taking issue with Marbury v. Madison, that ship has sailed.

    • Lee says:

      Well in Victoria we have a parliamentary system that has put science and medical people in charge and guess what?

      We have the exact opposite result of the situation where you live.

      In Melbourne we are under curfew and a new six week lockdown on top of the previous lockdown.

      Cases here have exploded as a direct result of the corrupt state government and their actions.

      Yesterday people that were supposed to be in quarantine were checked to see if they were home. Over 800 were not.

      That means there were 800 people running around the city spreading the virus germs everywhere they went. And as far as people can tell, not one thing was done to them: no fines, no jail. Nothing.

      Yet two people sitting on a park bench were fined…………………

      And of course the share market exploxed upwards and the AUstralia dollar did well actually increasing in value.

    • Happy1 says:

      Canada has a population that respects rule of law. US doesn’t. UK is more similar politically to Canada than US and is much worse off. This isn’t about your political system or some magical Canadian respect for “science”, it’s about an orderly population that respects the law.

  31. Mad Dog says:

    One thing that is not capture in these phony surveys is what is really going on out there in the real world. For example, School Teachers in the Washington DC Metro area are taking full advantage of this Covid-19 nightmare by milking the system for all its worth. They’ve
    successfully lobbied to have all the public schools closed so they don’t have to commute to work and are getting paid full salary and benefits. Meanwhile they are advertising to provide private tutoring (off the books off course) to those same students which they have refused to teach in the classroom . Result – rich families get their kids educated vis private in home instruction, and have the advantage of the high tech virtual connection to the classrooms instruction, while those who cannot afford the high speed Internet $100/month and the high powered laptop with virtual connection $800 minimum cost (44% in DC) are left high and dry. And the school teachers get to “double Dip” , collecting their full salary and benefits and making money in the underground economy at the same time.

    • Just Some Random Guy says:

      I was was assured by the media that kids safety is the one and only reason they don’t want to go back to classrooms. How dare you impugn fine men and women educators? I say, good day to you, sir.

      Of course you are 100% correct. Teachers who go to Costco and WalMart are afraid to go into a school, LOL. Corona is their dream come true, as you noted. They don’t work, get paid and have a second stream of revenue on top of it. But remember, teachers are all about the children!!

      • Yertrippin says:

        Wow. That cynicism is a weird flex. Teachers are so happy about about covid because money? Fun at parties no doubt.

        Spending 30 minutes in Costco is hardly spending 6 hours a day in a room with 35 kids. I wouldn’t invest in a business selling that DD.

  32. Mr. House says:

    It which shall not be named is just statistics and will remain that until most of us have a personal exp. with it. I wonder how long that will take, waiting for godot?

    • My neighbor is elderly, poor, rotates caregivers from an agency, probably paid by medicare. Lately instead of the usual young women, a few middle aged men are working those shifts. Caregiver is sub 15$ hour job, bottom level employment in this economy. Seems likely that out of work people from other occupations are filtering down the chain taking anything they can get.

      • Mr. House says:

        I actually work in a privatized but not really state program similar to your neighbor. The turnover of the 15$ an hour people is nuts based on the reports i see. I totally agree with you they should be paid more. The private and the public side are both skimming from the top and i think a lot of fraud is going on. May come out at some point but who knows.

      • Mr. House says:

        I missed your point though, and i’d love to know what it is because i love the author you take your namesake from and generally love your comments.

        • Mr. House says:

          and if the program is the same as the one i work for, its medicaid.

        • My neighbor may have requested male caregivers, I can’t be sure. Labor moving down the ladder is common in a recession. Employers usually don’t like to hire over qualified people, because when things improve they are first to leave. More men are openly gay and take jobs accordingly. It would be interesting to know if employers are seeing a rise in job applicants who have lowered their aspirations..

  33. Mad Dog says:

    Whoever came up with the line “the three greatest lies in the world” :

    1. I love ya honey

    2. The check is in the mail

    3. I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you

    needs to add a forth

    4. I am a member of the NEA, and we care about educating your kids

    • Jdog says:

      You will never improve education until you abolish teachers unions.

      • Paulo says:

        Isn’t it amazing how everyone is an expert on education because they went to school. Amazing. What an untapped resource. All we need to do is buy soap boxes.

        • Lee says:

          Well if you had ever gone to school overseas and the USA and taught overseas I think you might have a different opinion of education in the USA and other countries.

      • doug says:

        You will never improve policing until you abolish police unions.

      • MiTurn says:


        It’s not that simple. I was a high school and community college instructor for about 15 years. I was also a member of the local teachers’ union, but, mind you, in a right-to-work state — meaning, the union had to be functional and meaningful. Our association had a great working relationship with both parents and school administrators, but the reach of the union was only our local school district. There was no other agenda.

        The NEA is a racket, and was viewed thus by most teachers. It was not supported by most teachers, except those who saw it as a means to project themselves onto the larger state-level or national-level stage. The NEA was recognized to represent no one but their organization — not teachers, per se. Yes, it would be a good thing for that organization to dissolve itself.

        • Jdog says:

          NO public union is legitimate. The reason they are not legitimate is that they bypass the public. NO ONE represents the rights and interests of the public in dealings between public unions and the cities or counties or States. In such dealings you have one corrupt government agency dealing with another corrupt government agency on how to stick it to the taxpayers. In most cases the fleecing of the public is in the interests of both parties of the government. Public unions are a socialist / communist construct designed to place the interests of government ahead of the interests of the general public.

    • Just Some Random Guy says:

      Teachers work 6 hours a day, 8 months a year, can retire at 50 and have lifetime job security. On top of an above average salary with benefits private sector workers can only dream of.

      And they still complain.

      • Happy1 says:

        Salary is not particularly excellent if you are a math or science teacher in particular. Benefits are above market for sure.

  34. To spin that income bracket chart, the number of people who make 200K or more in a company, are in ratio of probably 100:1 versus those who make 25K or less. Half the number (33v60) would suggest that a lot more upper level management are losing their jobs. That is offset by small businesses where the boss is the last employee working. You previously noted the mid to upper level management were in trouble doing the work from home transition. It was just a matter of time before this group was automated out of a job. Sort of begs the question how does this play out politically in Nov.

    • Petunia says:

      Upper income workers have a bigger voice because their impact on the economy is greater. When they lose their jobs, is the govt going to give them 70% of their pay? Well, they usually contribute to political parties.

      When they lose their jobs the automatic payments into their 401K’s stop, there goes the stock market. These are the people that invest more and spend more, kiss the rest of the economy goodbye.

      • KurtZ says:

        And those layoffs haven’t even started to the managerial class.

        That’s coming here in Seattle when Boeing runs out of money.

        Burn rate good until right after the election

    • Happy1 says:

      My memory is that households earning more than 200K are 5% of US and less than 25K about 15% of US, I don’t think your 100/1 ratio is accurate

  35. Just Some Random Guy says:

    I went to Lowe’s this morning and there is a huge “WE”RE HIRING” banner on the store front. Wasn’t there last time I went which was 2-3 weeks ago.

  36. The Bob who cried Wolf says:

    It’s not going to improve anytime soon. The pandemic pushed us into where we were all going to be in 10 to 20 years anyways. It just did it in 120 days is all.
    Much of the workforce was on it’s way out and this sealed the deal. People can and will work from home and the white picket fence with a swing in the tree is going to make a comeback, bigly. Cars for now (drones soon) will be delivering food and useless things we can’t live without. Massive retail will sort of exist but more as a big box thing. Eventually, small restaurants and mom and pop stores will come back but will be different from what we remember. But it’s gonna be a mess for a while.
    If you still have a job that’s good. If you don’t, you better learn a trade really fast or use this time to go to college and make something of yourself.

  37. wkevinw says:

    Covid Stats for the US, conclusion compared to other similar countries= about what would be expected.

    Two countries that have 1. relatively reliable data and 2. similar public health policy (to the US), are The Netherlands and Sweden.

    The US is about half way between The Netherlands and Sweden for deaths per capita.

    Based on this,
    there really isn’t anything more or less unfortunate about the US covid data.

    • Happy1 says:

      Odd choice of comparison, health policy totally different from US, much smaller and more homogeneous countries.

      But I agree with your conclusion.

  38. SaltyGolden says:

    Can anybody help me understand where the bias to assume that people are lazy and will take advantage of a situation to the greatest degree comes from?

    I’ve heard statements like “people are making more money not working than they did working” with an implicit assumption that it’s disincentivizing folks to get back to work and that’s bad. That combined with the welfare queen narrative I’m genuinely baffled.

    • Happy1 says:

      Ummm, human nature? And facts?

      If I can make more money sitting at home than at work, of course I will sit at home, and the majority of current unemployed are in exactly that position.

      Do you voluntarily pay extra tax? Give the grocery store 5 extra bucks when you buy milk?

      • SaltyGolden says:

        “Do you voluntarily pay extra tax”: Yes, I choose to live in places like New York and California instead of Florida or Tennessee.

    • Happy1 says:

      And welfare queen narrative doesn’t apply here, people are actually being paid more to stay home than to work. Any human being will do that if they think they can pick up a job in a few months when the benefits change. What does that have to do with your outdated Reagan era trope?

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Most jobs suck.

      Going to work flipping burgers for x dollars an hour vs staying home for x + y dollars.

      You don’t need to be a genius to figure out what people will do.

      And it’s not a “statement”. The facts support that quite a few people are getting more.

  39. MonkeyBusiness says:

    The President is touting “big job numbers” coming this Friday.

    Wolf might as well copy and paste his BLS BS post from last month.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I wonder if this was Trump’s message to the BLS to produce “big numbers” or else.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        Oh come on Wolf. You certainly don’t believe “conspiracy theories” like that no ;)

        And to be precise, big POSITIVE numbers.

  40. says:

    A recent household survey from the Census Bureau suggests that the pain is widespread: Forty-seven percent of adults said they or a member of their household had lost employment income since mid-March. Nearly 40 percent expected the loss to continue over the next four weeks.

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