THE WOLF STREET REPORT: Second Wave of Layoffs Is Here, Now Hitting Well-Paid Jobs

A sort of sector rotation of layoffs. And it’s not a good sign. Even as millions of lower-wage workers are being hired back. (You can also download THE WOLF STREET REPORT at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, and others).

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  145 comments for “THE WOLF STREET REPORT: Second Wave of Layoffs Is Here, Now Hitting Well-Paid Jobs

  1. Josap says:

    As the PPP ends and companies can turn the loans into grants the jobs will end.

    As the rent/mortgage moratoriums end, people will be evicted.
    As the utility payment abatement ends the lights will go off.

    Things can be delayed, but not for long.

    • Petunia says:

      Those workers who were the first to be let go in March are now at the end of those unemployment checks, 26 weeks being the maximum in most states. It will only keep getting worse from here if the govt doesn’t do something to stop the pain.

      • Trinacria says:

        as has been said before…the arsonists double as the firefighters…a very sad state to put it mildly.

    • Jdog says:

      The procrastination of the inevitable is being sponsored by incumbent politicians, who are looking out after their own reelections this fall. Once the elections are over, they will need to face reality, and that these programs are not sustainable.
      Reality cannot be ignored, and the reality is government on all levels has very serious debt problems. While government debt may never be repaid, it does have to be serviced. The more debt, the more debt service.
      Debt service comes from taxes, and at a time when debt service is skyrocketing, tax revenue is steeply declining.
      The business environment is in a free fall, and GDP is down by over 30%. Commercial real estate is facing a crash the likes of which have not been seen in over 100 years.
      Unemployment is at the highest levels since the GD and will most likely get worse going into winter.
      Asset values are totally out of touch with reality, and based on nothing except flawed perceptions. Most of the people alive today have only existed during a time of prolonged inflation and debt driven consumption. They have no concept of what happens in a environment where money destruction by debt default, outpaces credit driven money creation. They have never experienced it, and so it is beyond their ability to understand or believe. That does not change the fact it is happening, and will change our lives to a degree few today even understand.

      • Frederick says:

        You are correct I am one of those people who have only experienced short glimpses of deflation during my lifetime It will be epic and I believe the FED and others will put the printers into hyper drive to try and stem the collapse but will ultimately fail Self sufficiency and stores of value along with good marketable skills will be paramount to ones survival

      • Trinacria says:

        Amen to that Jdog !!!

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        JDog, your economics is out of date!

        Re: “While government debt may never be repaid, it does have to be serviced.” – not at zero rates. And at negative rates, your debt services you!

        Re: “The more debt, the more debt service.” – not if rates are lowered to compensate.

        Re: “Debt service comes from taxes” – not when it comes from fresh borrowing! ,

        Re: “The business environment is in a free fall” – not for people outside shutdown-cities.

        Re: “GDP is down by over 30%.” – this is just wrong. It was down about 7% in Q2 during peak-shutdowns, and they “annualized” this (multiplied by 4) to get to “30%”. But Wolf has justly pointed out the stupidity of this method.

        Re: “Asset values are totally out of touch with reality” – no, asset values are pricing in monetary inflation, since the government has no way to pay back its debt and is printing money to fill in the gaping economic hole created by the economic fallout from COVID (and poor policy responses thereto).

        Re: “money destruction by debt default, outpaces credit driven money creation.” – not going to happen unless and until the population demands it by throwing out nearly everyone currently in government. So, not going to happen.

        Dollar-Credit will be printed to fill in the holes, until everyone loses faith in the dollar itself. This isn’t to say there won’t be occasional speed bumps due to unexpected surprises and/or temporary partisan gridlock in Washington.

        But if the past 20 years have taught us anything, it’s that the leadership will do anything, anything to get one more hit from the credit machine, rather than allow creative destruction to work its painful magic in a debt-deflation.

        • Billybob says:

          Thank you!

          Hands down this is the best and most succinct summation of where we’re at that I’ve seen.

      • Brant Lee says:

        After elections are when the politicians go back into their holes. Does anyone believe anything will change this time? These are the same lifers who have put in unsustainable policies for the last twenty years and meanwhile spent over twenty trillion with nothing to show. Either we get Trump and Pelosi getting nothing done or Biden and McConnel doing less.

      • cb says:

        Jdog said: “They have no concept of what happens in a environment where money destruction by debt default, outpaces credit driven money creation.”
        Please share your thoughts on what does happen in a environment where money destruction by debt default, outpaces credit driven money creation.

  2. Jeff says:

    Wolf, do you think this will slow down the real estate market or are the layoffs more of a drop in the bucket compared to the number of houses being sold

    • EJ says:

      I think suburban/rural will be fine (for now), but urban real estate will be even more doomed than it already is.

      Office jobs, urban retail, local restaurants, city stuff for college grads (who are moving back in with suburban parents now)… these are exactly the kind of things that are getting cut. Meanwhile, I have 2 relatives in suburban real estate that are absolutely *swamped*.

      • Ethan in NoVA says:

        If we start seeing job cuts of those jobs that the suburban people are using the fund their purchases, then that should slow down?

        If prices start to (hopefully) slide downwards, will people be so eager to overpay?

        • Lynn says:

          I hope so but am not sure. There seems to be a LOT of cash buying investors. Rising prices are NOT propelled solely by people moving out of the cities. I’m priced out as well, and houses are going for far more than is worth paying by any measure.

          I really think a lot of the bailout money leaked out to companies and individuals who are buying up everything in sight- not just one house to live in. I suspect Munuchin might have something to do with it- rumors are he did in the last recession.

      • Peter Simmons says:

        Good point. An analysis of Zillow data shows that home buying per capita in Colorado is around 50% of last year. And listings per capita are up 20-40% in all urban areas except Pueblo. Which implies that housing price increases are being driven by people fleeing urban areas due to work at home and unrest. Into surburban/rural areas with limited housing stock. My gut feel is that we are going to see large RE price decreases in urban areas – and RE price increases in rural areas.

        • rhodium says:

          Yeah, they think they’ll be safe in the suburbs… Will their new mortgage be safe from their layoff from their middle class job? Companies are using this whole thing as an excuse to replace employees with technology. Some of these former office employees will need to learn how to build houses for far lower wages if house prices stay up.

    • John Taylor says:

      The big thing that pushes the real estate prices down is forced sales. If those loans in forbearance ever turn to sales (if they have equity), short sales (if they don’t but they can work with the lender), or foreclosures then there will be a significant price drop in real estate.

      That being said, the government worked with the banks to stem the tide of foreclosures last crisis and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did it again. They represent big banks and Wall Street after all, not first time homebuyers.

      • Lynn says:

        and big buyers. Normal people could not buy the foreclosures, at least in Ca, because the sales had to be ALL cash. They would not even loan on them with a 40% down payment. A loan to ordinary people that is. The big buyers who bought for pennies on the dollar got massive loans at low interest.

      • petedivine says:

        Everything you say is true. The only difference I see is that local and state governments will be looking for a pound of flesh to make up for the revenue they’ve lost due to paying out unemployment claims, commercial real estate bankruptcies, and other lost revenues from sales taxes, restaurant taxes, hotel taxes, etc. They’ll be looking at real estate taxes to make up the shortfall. The Banks will have to pay those taxes if they own the property. Carrying costs will be significantly higher than they were during the 2008 crises.

    • jon says:

      Everything would be fine until it is not.

      It all depends upon jobs.

      During last downturn, it took 4 years for real estate to find bottom
      it believe this is just a temporary uptick in price before it all starts going down.

      We have 20% un employment and stock market and real estate going up, for sure it is crazy but chicken is going to come home to roost sooner or later.

      I think govt would keep pumping money till the election.

      I anticipated this domino effect months before and I can see it happening for quite some time.

      • Jdog says:

        jon, you are definitely seeing things clearly, and that vision will serve you well going forward.
        Anyone who thinks ignoring reality will make the reality vanish is a fool. The insolvency that infects our economy is real and cannot be ignored or remedied by postponing the inevitable.

      • Frederick says:

        The last downturn was kids play compared to what’s coming Prepare accordingly if you’re smart The dollars demise will bring a lot of pain for many Americans

        • NBay says:

          I think the stuff addressed in the podcast will bring pain a long time before the “dollar’s demise”. I know you like gold, but to me it’s just a commodity to be traded right now, for those that are into trading.
          As far as burying it somewhere goes…meh.

      • polecat says:

        Rotten eggs for most … !

        Learn some hands-on skills while you’all can .. cuz you’re gonna have toto rely on them, perhaps sooner then you think!

        Go ahead ..Place yer bets on Blue ..or Red .. makes no diff. They’ll BOTH screw you over – Big Time!

      • Happy1 says:

        20% unemployment is not the official govt number but probably is more accurate. But it is a self imposed problem highly concentrated in travel and hospitality industries. To my mind those industries will be crushed for several years, the rest of the economy probably not so much? Probably include downtown real estate sector with the highly affected businesses. those businesses are a large portion of the economy but this is probably not a great depression level economic event.

  3. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Nasdaq 100K
    Dow 100K
    S&P 100K

  4. MCH says:

    It’s odd, if CRM laid off fatty Mcfatty CEO Marc B., you would think that it’s stock should skyrocket considering the costs it would save, but I’d bet it would kill the stock

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Same with Tesla. There’s no bigger Key Man Risk in the market.

      • MCH says:

        And let’s not forget the grand daddy of them all, Jeff Bezos. His risk would be about $1000/sh

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          Disagree. Amazon has a real business now. Tesla’s business on the other hand is just Elon Musk.

        • MCH says:

          technically, so is CRM. :)

          But I tell you if Jeff Bezos kicked the bucket tomorrow, AMZN stocktakes a dive. Because baldy is every bit as important to AMZN right now, as Jobs was to Apple in 2011. If he goes, Wall Street will clamor for profitability, buybacks, and dividends. It will tank the stock in the short run, but eventually it’ll go higher once all of those Wall Street games kick in.

          You need someone like Bezos not to give in to this crap. If he goes, there will be no replacement other than another dude like Cook. Then that’ll kill AMZN.

          Cause the Dr. Evil has convinced Wall Street that profitability is irrelevant, and world conquest is better. No one else can do that.

      • lenert says:

        Musk shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a public company short of pushing a broom.

  5. Jason Tilton says:

    No government jobs, though. That parasite will grow until it kills the host.

    • Bobby Dents says:

      Lol, this post Government jobs are already being cut.

    • Lance Manly says:

      I guess you don’t remember the state and local job cuts during the GFC. That is what prolonged unemployment.

    • lenert says:

      “GAO says SBA will use private contractors to review questionable PPP loans.”

      • polecat says:

        So, the sharks get to gaze at the barracuda as they raid the shoals of anchovy ..
        Got it!

    • Mara says:

      I don’t know what world you live in but government jobs are still jobs. Eisenhower had a huge jump in government jobs on a useless thing called the “Interstate Highway System”. If we had massive government spending for modern infrastructure like green energy, high speed internet, and renovated public transport, we could put millions to work while also providing high paid skilled positions. Plus we’d get competitive high speed internet and less dependency on foreign oil

      • Frederick says:

        What world do you live in? Many government jobs are totally unnecessary and only exist for political reasons We need productivity in the labor market not more government zombies

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        Also note that the US is not dependent on foreign oil, and hasn’t been for a few years.

        If high speed internet made economic sense, the cable companies would build it in a heartbeat. If government wants it built out, there’s no need to create a bureaucracy, just tweak the tax laws to make it profitable for existing internet providers. Or, better yet, break up the monopolistic providers (all of them) and force them to compete on price&quality for local market share.

        There’s also no need for public transport right now – most are ailing due to COVID-induced changes in commuting patterns. Demand for transport is unlikely to return to its prior level for many years, if at all.

        • Lee says:

          High speed Internet?

          What’s that?

          The NBN, our national Internet infrastructure, company owned by the government and started under the previous LABOR government is a joke.

          Our Internet speeds are a joke unless you live in the CBD or near CBD serviced by cable.

          We are now ranked number 62 in the world in speeds:

          “The country has dropped to 62nd place in a global ranking of broadband speeds, putting us behind a number of developing countries including Kosovo, Kazakhstan and Barbados.”

          The government has spent upwards A$60 billion plus on this ‘system’ and it hasn’t resulted in any faster speeds where I live.

          The ONLY thing that has happened is that reliability has increased a little.

          When normal school was open you could tell when all the kids got home from school and got online as the speeds dropped like a rock.

          And what about public transport?

          Well here in the Socialist People’s Republic of Victoria which has inked its own agreement with China in the BRI program, the government has spent billions on fixing the problems with railroad crossings in the city.

          I do have to give them credit for actually doing something about it, but the usual problems have come up:

          1. Initial plans that were discussed with the community were scrapped and thrown away as they were too expensive.

          2. Instead of placing most of the crossings underground, they built them up – a two storey type platform that increased the noise and blocked the views of people along the line. THis also required more land along the line as well. Done and dusted before any real community consultation took place.

          3. Huge cost overruns as usdual with these projects. Actually no surprise there as the unions and their members are the ones that got the largesse. (Its a LABOR government after all.)

          4. I still don’t know if they have upgraded the switches in the system that are over 100 years old or replaced the rail that bend and melt when the ambient air temp hits over 40 C though.

          5. And of course with the virus running rampant in the city, the future of public transport is in doubt.

          Our rail crossing is supposed to be worked on starting at the end of this year and take a couple of years to complete.

          That will solve part of the problem, but when there is an accident further up the main highway, the entire suburb gets grid locked with people diverting off the highway and lines 2 and 3 kilometers long forming on the streets. It then takes you 20 minutes to move a couple hundred meters.

        • ultra says:

          No, cable companies make money by creating artificial scarcity and charging people more for higher speed connections (which are actually cheaper to operate than lower speed connections, as the latter clog up more bandwidth). This is especially true of the monopolistic companies that currently operate cable. People are willing to pay a price premium if they think their connection speed is faster than everyone else.

        • doug says:

          If rural electricity made sense…blah blah
          If rural internet made sense …blah blah

          I think govt providing/mandating service has been a success story in the past.
          This BS ‘let the market decide’ is weak sauce.

      • Happy1 says:

        The interstate highway construction involved private contractors not government employees. It was a project of limited time and did not generate vast numbers of overpaid bureaucrats for the next generation. Green New Deal would be a massive sop to the rich.

  6. Raymond Rogers says:

    Wolf. You were the “Head Honcho” a few weeks ago. Now you are the “Top Underling”. Are things that bad that you got demoted at your own place? Did you get to keep your benefits?

    Good analysis as usual.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Got demoted due to bad behavior ?

      • MCH says:

        Yeah, we all know who the real boss is… she probably saw the line about “head honcho” and gave a meaningful ahem.

        • Tony22 says:

          Honcho is not a Mexican term.
          It’s Japanese and may have a meaning not understood by gaijin.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Well, now it gets complicated. Honcho is an English word, that like most English words, comes from another language. This one comes from Japanese (hon = main and cho= chief). And like many Japanese words, this one seems to come from Chinese. My wife — who is Japanese — says it’s not used in modern Japanese. But it’s used in modern English ?

        • MCH says:

          So, Wolf, basically, your wife heard, she figured you’d run a fast one by her, and gave you the ahem to put the Wolf in his place. :)

        • NBay says:

          All these years I’ve used it I was absolutely certain it was Mexican!

  7. Phoenix_Ikki says:

    Hmm…if this is the start of high paying white collar layoff, I wonder if this will somehow trickle down to the red hot housing market in time? A lot of of people that bought recently probably belong to this group…probably not a good feeling to sign a 15 or 30 yrs mortgage on a house then come to find out your job has been “optimized” 6 months into this crisis.

    • Frederick says:

      It already has in many locations and I have no doubt that it will spread throughout the country Perhaps a few areas will benefit of course but overall I can’t see how it can be anything but negative In gold terms that is

    • Seneca’s Cliff says:

      I don’t know who can be confident enough in their job these days to sign a new 30 year mortgage on a house they paid above market for. Here in Oregon Nike has announced rolling layoffs that will happen over the next month (25% of the V.P.s) were already axed. But from what I hear, quite a few of the same employees who are potentially on the chopping block are out buying fancy houses. Makes no sense to me.

      • NoEasyDay says:

        >But from what I hear, quite a few of the same employees who are
        >potentially on the chopping block are out buying fancy houses.

        They’re buying new cars and trucks as the OEMs slash prices.

        • Just Some Random Guy says:

          “as the OEMs slash prices”

          The price of cars has shot up in the past 6 months. Both new and used. I don’t know where some of you all get your info from wherever it is, don’t go there anymore.

      • Old School says:

        I am seeing a lot of people who have had a good run in their career taking on more real estate and auto debt. It’s kind of natural as your finances improve. Many are too young to have seen a recession during their work life, so it’s full speed ahead. Last to buy in a business cycle are ones that can get hurt the most.

        • Frederick says:

          Business cycles no longer apply The debt is just too big to ever be repaid and default through hyperinflation should pretty much destroy what’s left of the US economy sadly

        • NoEasyDay says:

          @Old School-

          >Many are too young to have seen a recession during
          >their work life, so it’s full speed ahead.

          Good point. I got clobbered good back in the early
          eighties. Still have emotional scar tissue from it.

        • Paulo says:

          For No Easy Day,

          Yes, I too got clobbered in the early 80’s. And I’ll bet you won’t this time around. I know I won’t. In the 80’s it actually wasn’t my fault as we were a young couple and just starting out. We didn’t have any debt beyond a small mortgage. Regardless, I vowed those struggles would never happen again.

          No debt=better sleeps


        • Pete Koziar says:

          It’s called “Normalcy Bias.” People assume that things will continue as they are, and discount any threats.

        • polecat says:

          For all those wokefolk out there in public sector nirvana, looking to destroy the sovereign state for the benefit of globalists the world over, listen up .. You think you’re all on top of it .. well, guess again ….

          In the the solemn words of one John McClain : “Yippykyyay Motherf#ckers!”

        • Lynn says:

          It’s not just those people. It’s also investors. Many “we buy houses for cash” people and other investors are buying everything up.

          I think the bailout money leaked into those people’s pockets.

          There are a lot of news stories about PPP fraud right now, so I’m guessing there’s more fraud in the stock bailouts than PPP.

      • Ethan in NoVA says:

        Maybe they assume that somehow the real estate purchases will be saved/forbearance and they won’t be forced to sell somehow.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Ethan-cumulative effect of previously granting ‘do-overs’ to the widespread number of those who usually conduct themselves in the manner that rules apply only to others (“…better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission…”-or, routine use of the fait-accompli as SOP…), believing that ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ means ‘freedom FROM responsibility (and this applies to ALL levels and politics of our society). Gravity, however is still the law, however (remember, it’s the massive deceleration, not the impact, that imposes the maximum mischief…), and the earth’s surface looms large…

          Having cheered us up, may we all find a better day.

        • Lynn says:

          It’s also big investors…

      • Jon W says:

        In the UK, if you own a home, you’ve been able to get a mortgage ‘holiday’ for the last six months, and banks will just offer interest only mortgages again, which at 2% interest rates are not exactly onerous. Oh, you can also get govt benefits if you lose your job.

        If you rent and are saving to buy, govt will force you to use your deposit money before offering assistance if you lose your job. While there is currently an eviction ban so you don’t end up on the street, you still owe the rent you’re not paying, even if your landlord won’t lower it now that you’re stuck in a tiny central city hovel that nobody wants anymore.

        Home owners are, as always, being protected, so I don’t blame folks for clamouring to get onto that bandwagon before they lose the chance to do so (from losing their job).

      • Trinacria says:

        yep, as a friend of mine said…facts and logic just don’t seem to work anymore.

      • Engin-ear says:

        @Seneca’s Cliff

        “who can be confident enough in their job these days to sign a new 30 year mortgage on a house they paid above market for.”

        Gamblers. Always confident enough whatever the odds are.

      • Jdog says:

        No one should ever be confident in a job, they should be confident in their own abilities. You do not need a job to make money, and will never get ahead if working a job is all you do.
        Financial success is simply a matter of figuring out what your talents are, and how to use those talents to fulfill other peoples needs. When you are doing what you like, and what you are really good at, you find yourself succeeding beyond what you ever thought was possible. When you hear about people putting in 100hrs a week at what they do, it is because they enjoy it, not because they are forcing themselves to do it.

      • Seen it all before, Bob says:

        “I don’t know who can be confident enough in their job these days to sign a new 30 year mortgage on a house they paid above market for. ”

        A few points.

        1) I’ve never been confident in the security of any job I have had. You can always be outsourced or replaced by someone cheaper.

        2) Most need a job to qualify for a mortgage. The only time to get a mortgage is while you have a job and before you are laid off Mortgage lenders even ask about how long you’ve been at that particular job in order to qualify.

        3) Given 1 and 2, if you want a house, have a job, and qualify, you should buy a house while you can. Make sure you have enough emergency cash to cover 1-2 years of mortgage payments so you don’t lose it all (Like a hedge fund/insurance pro). Also hope you don’t have too many six-sigma emergencies that drain your emergency funds. And hope an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, asteroid doesn’t flatten your new home. Life is a gamble but with buying a house, the risk has been low.

        4) If you stay in that house 10-15 years, you will be fine. If you stay in that house for 30 years, you can retire.

  8. John Taylor says:

    Top underling? Like General Secretary? (joke)

  9. paul easton says:

    i turned off the ad blocker and I see my attitude has changed. I have no interest at all in any of that bullshite. I wonder if I am alone in this.

    • Lance Manly says:

      Donate by clicking the beer mug and enjoy!

    • NBay says:

      I dunno, Paul, but I was just checking out a double 4-5″ bbl 12ga shotgun pistol.
      Guess I’m easily entertained.

  10. Lance Manly says:

    The tech sector layoffs are going to be tough on developers over 40. Age bias in the sector is well known. I wonder if many with strong 401Ks and savings might move on to something else. Keep an eye on LFPR, in might dip again. A lot of people in this position won’t go for unemployment as a gap in the resume is a red flag, better to say you were consulting.

    • Petunia says:

      There is no stigma in being unemployed during this disaster, as there was none during the GFC. My credit was wrecked and it didn’t matter because everybody I came across was in the same boat. They either had bad credit or had to deal with customers who did. Didn’t stop me from renting or buying a car. So much for the social credit score people care so much about.

      The people in their 50’s closer to retirement are going to have to make some hard choices. Retire early now and all that that implies or not.

      • Danno says:

        Just turned 59, sold my house…sitting on a pile of cash.

        Hope we do not get big inflation, my new mantra is :

        “I’m 59, no debt and good chunk of change and I’m not going to do anything else the rest of my life i don’t want to.”

        Wish me luck!

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Good luck finding enough to do to keep your whole self functioning properly Danno.
          I have ‘retired’ three times, still hoping this time will do the trick, but each of the other times, I have been so freaking bored taking it easy that I chose to go back to work; first time kinda sorta ”service” w local guv mint and very low pay, second time the highest pay I could find, at which I made my very good clients millions, and they took very good care of me in return.
          Suggest you find something to do that you really enjoy, and give it everything you got; much more fun than sitting around on your butt, and much healthier for you.

        • Jdog says:

          I would not worry too much about inflation, the fact that trillions of dollars are being destroyed by debt default has not been admitted, or fully understood. Inflation is dependent on credit purchasing, and available credit is now shrinking, not growing.
          These trends are deflationary, not inflationary. In addition, the budget problems of government at all levels is huge, and is going to force higher taxes across the board. That translates into less money available for purchases, or debt service which is also deflationary. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

        • Frederick says:

          Congrats You May have just dodged a bullet as far as selling your place I did the same in 2015 and have no regrets Sleep much better at night being more deversified internationally When I see what’s happening to my country it’s very disturbing to be honest

        • cb says:

          Jdog said: ” the fact that trillions of dollars are being destroyed by debt default has not been admitted, or fully understood. Inflation is dependent on credit purchasing, and available credit is now shrinking, not growing.”

          You are right, it’s not understood. Debt and credit may be being destroyed, but those dollars that funded that debt stay in the system (my understanding). And simultaneously it is a race between new money creation, FED balance sheet building, forbearance, debt forgiveness, other forms of corruption and interest rate suppression.

        • elysianfield says:

          ‘Hope we do not get big inflation,”

          Rather you should wish for no more wars…you will be sooner rewarded than wishing to avoid inflation.

          I just sold a piece of commercial property on a 20 year note…glad to have gotten a sale at any price, although I know that the mortgage will be paid in increasingly worthless dollars…Invest the down payment in silver, pay estimated taxes, and kiss the rest goodbye.

        • elysianfield says:

          The issue is not domestic…the issue is international. Countries will not accept the dollar at anything short of a deeply discounted exchange against their own currencies. The dollar, whored up as it is, will float against all other currencies, and will not be considered “the cleanest dirty shirt in the hamper”. Anything imported into this country will show the inflation you are quick to deny.

      • El Katz says:

        Poor credit scores don’t stop you from renting or buying a car… but they do impact which landlord will rent to you, how much of a deposit you have to put down, and what interest rate you’ll pay.

        That’s what subprime lenders and “tote the note lots” are for. Many auto captive finance companies will hock people, who are internally referred to as “credit criminals” to drive sales, particularly on marginal product. Nissan was famous for that. The less enlightened credit managers subscribed to the theory that “you can live in your car, but you can’t drive your house (or apartment)” as an assurance that the last thing people would default on was their car loan.

        • Ravi Uppal says:

          VintageVnet , 100 % agree with you . Working iron never rusts . Turkish proverb

      • Lance Manly says:


        I have often been called on many times to evaluate future employees. HR will flag someone with a gap in their employment. It is just what happens. I don’t know if you are in the tech world.

        • Petunia says:

          Yes, I come from the tech world. Most HR workers are not in a position to evaluate tech workers. If they knew what they were doing, they would know the best coders work brutal hours on projects lasting 1-2 years and need a break in between projects.
          The ones that can afford to take 6 months off regularly are probably the better ones.

          I haven’t worked in tech for many years now but I know most of the current batch don’t know half of what I know. A lot of good tech has fallen by the wayside because nobody knows how to do it anymore. The size of most code projects alone is an indicator of how much crap is being produced.

  11. Brant Lee says:

    Meanwhile, the government and media are announcing the return of the good times saying unemployment is now falling below 10% ignoring the actual figures. What a great time for corporations to lay off the white collars amid such great improvement in the economy, right?

    This year couldn’t have worked out better for corporations with the low wage earners returning to work for any pay they can get. Now it’s time to clear out the high wage earners because the Fed has these huge companies’ backs covered whether they are making money or not.

    • Petunia says:

      I know someone unemployed in a state that requires claimants to list 3 job searches a week. The requirement restarted at the end of July and he is already struggling to find 3 jobs he can apply for. Next week he plans to apply for medical jobs, although he has absolutely no training as a medical professional, because those are the only jobs available.

      • Just Some Random Guy says:

        LOL. I was on UE about 10 years ago. The same requirement, 3 applications a week. I’d got on (remember that?) and apply for 3 jobs. Took 5 minutes and met the requirement. I had to meet a counsellor every few weeks and brought all my application confirmations. She skimmed over them said OK, cool. and off I went, The whole thing is a joke.

        • lenert says:

          For a lifetime maximum benefit of about twelve grand.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Depends on the state jr.
          Some states I have heard about, the more conservative ones usually from what I have heard, used to call each of the companies that applying folks listed to confirm they had applied.
          Others as you say.
          Some states, FL for one as Pet has commented previously, will or would do anything they could to keep you from getting any UI money at all.

        • Lee says:

          I’ve posted on this before about requirements in Australia before the virus hit.

          You had to apply for at least 20 jobs a month, do other things such as volunteeer ‘work’ or training.

          If you are over 60 the requirements are:

          “You can do voluntary work for up to 30 hours per fortnight. You can also choose to do a combination of voluntary and paid work, but with less hours of paid work.”

          Plus all the usual bs such as required ‘training’, required meetings, and paperwork such as recording job applications, and changes in income and assets.

          If you have too much money or to much income you get nothing: it is called means testing. Oh, the value of your house isn’t included in the calculations.

          Iyou have debt, that can’t be written off against your assets either!

          You pay your taxes, work, save, and then when you get in trouble you get nothing because you didn’t spend like a crazy fool.

          The payment is something like A$550 every two weeks minus deductions for income and assets.

      • Paulo says:

        Petunia, (for your unemployed friend)

        From people I know:
        Phone book for contacts. Use a boilerplate document and change the headings. If the contact might actually look promising do a good tailored resume with the usual in person contact regime. Copy and forward to snooping authorities.

        I know it is just obvious lip service and he/she probably already does this. But no one grades style in the hoop jumping contest.

        It is my belief that most people prefer to work than get the dole. But folks have to eat.

        • Petunia says:

          It’s funny how people become outcasts the minute they apply for the benefits they are entitled to and paid for with their labor.

  12. nick kelly says:

    Related: Pinterest just paid 89.5 million to get out their 400 million lease obligation in a new San Fran building. Since the co is in OK shape, the assumption is that since it is a social media co, work from home is viable.
    However it does not auger well for SF office RE.

  13. michael earussi says:

    With all the new layoffs and without another round of govt handouts millions will wind up on the streets. I wonder if the govt just expects them to starve quietly? Another 10 million homeless could destabilize the entire country.

    • Frederick says:

      Seems to me that the country is already “ destabilized”
      Got Gold and/ or Silver?

      • Paulo says:


        It IS destabilised. Might as well stoke the fires with politics. Scary times.

        Just want to add to your PM comment, “or other preps”.

        • Frederick says:

          Indeed I too was laid off from an office job in 81 with a new wife and infant Had just bought a house as well Never even applied for Unemployment Went door to door looking for any home improvement work I could get and later started building spec homes out on the east end of Long Island Never looked back I agree and salute you on your choices re debt Godspeed brother

        • Erich says:

          Welcome to the dis-united states of America. This will NOT be your grandfathers depression.

      • Thor's Hammer says:

        I’m always amused by people who think that gold or silver are real money. What are they really good for? You can’t eat them or make a tool from them. Sure you can make shiny jewelry from them, but what if the fashion changes to ostrich feathers or giant stone donuts?

        In a real collapse the only shiny metal of lasting value is brass, and that in the form that has lead on the tip and an explosive powder in the middle. And unlike gold, it has real utility in protecting your food source from others who might try to take it.

        • Frederick says:

          You can be amused all you like but 5000 years of history tells me what real money is and it’s certainly not hyperinflated fiat currencies

        • RightNYer says:

          It’s not an either/or proposition. I bought some physical gold and silver, and I have plenty of ammo.

        • Thor's Hammer says:


          Pieces of paper are real money as long as people believe they are. The same goes for shiny metal or cowrie shells.

          When push comes to shove, people value what they must have to sustain life and protect their families and tribe. And that is not shiny trinkets or shares of bat guano on an imaginary island in the South Pacific.

          Picture yourself on your backwoods farm in the hills west of Ashland Oregon. Camouflaged passive solar house, vegetable garden, nice year round stream, no access by 4 wheeler or pickup. Back in the olden days it used to provide a nice income and winter trips to Costa Rica, but legalization and the takeover of the weed trade by the Cartels put an end to that. Then came the waves of refugees from California wildfires and shit covered cities’ no longer supported by virtual work at home jobs, straggling up the I-5 corridor on foot laying waste to anything edible and preying upon each other like locusts. Your family survived the hordes by camouflaging all entry trails to your place and killing and disposing of anyone who started to explore in your direction. Or perhaps you think they survived by placing gold bars around the mailbox at the start of your paved driveway?

        • Lee says:

          “What are they really good for”

          Well gee………..all sorts of things like watching the value of your assets being protected if you live in palces like Zimbabwe, Argentina, Turkey, or many other places – even the USA.

          Tell me, when has there ever been a ‘real collapse’ in the USA?

        • Happy1 says:

          Gold and silver have been stores of value for thousands of years including the majority of recorded history when most people were subsistence farming for a living. That seems unlikely to abruptly end now.

        • NBay says:

          All these “end times survival strategies” above are really stupid and quite ignorant….and they bore me.

          Take a lesson from a place like Somalia, and don’t try to hide and go it alone, or save or hoard anything.

          When everything does go to hell, pick a warlord that looks like a winner, and have/do/learn skills that are necessary to be needed by him, and hope you don’t get killed while working your way up. Might buy you more existence time, which is the whole idea, right?

          Just a much tougher and more physical version of climbing a corporate ladder, I guess.

          Hope this ends a too often repeated and pointless discussion, and why I just hope for a Green New Deal, for starters. All us low wealth nobodys can do is hope, ya know? And then just go down with the ship.

      • Anthony A. says:

        Add a 9 mm or a 12 gauge to the stash to be “safe”.

    • Trailer Trash says:

      >millions will wind up on the streets

      Are there no prisons?
      Are there no workhouses?

      –Ebenezer Scrooge

  14. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    I think this big push to work from home is just the first move in the big game of disaster capitalism. Employees will move to new digs in fly over states or the hinterlands, then they will slowly be converted to contractors as this is much easier when someone maintains their own office, supplies and hours. Then the big corporations will be free to cut them loose realizing that half were not needed and most of the rest could be replaced by overseas digital slaves. The companies will not have any onerous severance pay or retraining to do and presto the stock jumps and the CEO gets a new bonus. At that point the lakeside villages and red state burgs will fold up like a fireworks stand in a hurricane.

    • lenert says:

      Newsflash – at least one megasoftware corp has been majority-contractor for decades. At one point they were turning over 2,500 heads per day.

    • Thor's Hammer says:

      Spot on, Seneca

      A “work from home” job is just a holding pen for being replaced by AI or an India telecommuter who’s living and housing expenses are a fraction of yours and who’ “tech” skills are superior.

      Actual management of actual business decisions can only take place face to face. Most of communication is not through language, or more properly, much of language is not through words but through social interaction.

      The first phase of a work from home environment is lack of discipline and drop off in efficiency. The second phase is layoffs to maintain profitability in the face of decreasing revenues due to poor business decisions. And the final stage is total abandonment of any pretense of producing a product in favor of total financialization.

      • Just Some Random Guy says:

        A “work from home” job is just a holding pen for being replaced by AI or an India telecommuter who’s living and housing expenses are a fraction of yours and who’ “tech” skills are superior.


        There’s a middle ground. This is why big cities are dead. To use a simple example.

        Employee A works and lives in SF. He earns $150K a year. He pays $150K on “stuff” and taxes.

        Employee B works in the midwest. He earns $100K but due to lower cost of living and taxes spends $80K on “stuff” and taxes.

        Employee B is better off financially and the employer is better off. The same work gets done and everyone is better off.

        Obviously this doesn’t work with all jobs. A mechanic in the midwest can’t fix a car in San Francisco. But for the vast majority of white collar work, remote work is doable. And companies in places like SF will no longer pay $150K when they can pay $100K and get the same work out of employees.

        • polecat says:

          Well, I’m ‘working from ‘home’ canning next year’s batch of pasta sauce ..

          How many here on this forum can do that ? Put wholesome food up ..??

          But of course, THAT’S not real work, right?

          NO .. playin the Casino is all there is ..

          Until it’s not!

      • Harrold says:


        Remote workers have been a thing for 20 years now.

    • Tony22 says:

      And once all the infrastructure and setups are in place for remote working from the Midwest, then the jobs will be shipped to India Asia Africa for 1/10th the labor cost.

      “They Wouldn’t, Couldn’t, Shouldn’t do that any more than they WCS the manufacturing plants.

    • Happy1 says:

      You are describing something that already exists as if it is some future scenario.

    • NBay says:

      Agree. Contractors are even better than outright slaves…zero maintenance.
      The problem is then “mopping up” unneeded humans (I mean labor), and I always wonder how they will do it…I imagine they do also. Hollywood fiddles with the possibilities a lot.

      May you live in interesting times.

  15. Jdog says:

    The economy is now in a negative feedback loop. The reality that this is the new normal and we are not going back to pre-covid is beginning to sink in, and that is being reflected in the new job losses.
    All the attempts to postpone the effects of what is happening can only last temporarily, and as the reality sets in that the bubble cannot be reinflated, panic will be the next stage. Asset prices will crash and preservation of capital at any cost will become the primary concern.

    • KurtZ says:

      You are VERY correct Jdog. The Deflationary monster the FED and the rest of the CB’s are fighting has arrived at the gates of the castle and NO amount of debt creation can fight it off. Asset prices will crash because all economic activity is based on wages, not low interest rates. Corps AND Munis are gorged on it over the last 25 years, so they will have either default or do MASSIVE layoffs. Over time it will be both.

      Keep telling people we are going back to 1995, when wages and prices were last connected.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      “Temporary” could be 10 years, could be 20 years, could be a long time. It probably ends with the dissolution of the country. The people do not understand how the country is run, heck most of them have never heard or cared about the Fed. Everyone’s out for themselves now.

      • Andrei says:

        Right. Some “best-selling” authors have been predicting a deflationary crash for years now. They already had time to publish revised editions of the doom books :)

    • Frederick says:

      I’m afraid you might be right Velocity of money M2 is at an astounding 1.10 Scary indeed Gold and Silver are where I’ll be hiding out along with self sufficiency in food as much as possible

      • Pete Koziar says:

        Regarding gold and silver, just remember, when the margin calls hit, everything (yes, EVERYTHING), including precious metals, gets sold.

        Be prepared for scary plunges in face value.

        • Crunchy says:

          PMs aren’t sold because of margin calls.

          What’s sold are the various paper promises of PMs.

          The “price” of gold and silver might drop, but the cost of acquisition won’t be so affected.

      • sunny129 says:

        ‘Velocity of money M2 is at an astounding 1.10’

        BUT not in Consumers hands!
        Banks are loath to lend and consumers up their neck in debt don’t want to borrow!
        If Fed deposit that $ directly into consumers ban accts, then it would matter. But NOT until!

        Gold prices are manipulated once it reaches around $2000/ounce!
        I just trade them bothways with hedges!

  16. Old Engineer says:

    The people with well paid jobs are also the people with decent health insurance. As that goes, there will be further ripples through the already hit medical business.

    Great report, Wolf, I really appreciate your work. Thanks!

  17. So most of these unemployed will show up on the (red bars) Federal claimants? This probably has a ripple effect through services. It’s not like these upper MI earners ever fire anyone, they just stop paying them.

  18. Bobber says:

    According to the Fed’s plan, asset prices will remain high, income will continues to consolidate into the hands of those who already have more wealth than they can spend, and the economy will shrink as overall demand continues to shrink.

    This does not bode well for anybody in prime working years who loses their professional job. A good share of them will have to take drastic pay cuts, and many will be forced into early retirement as they get “Fed up” with the system.

    • Frederick says:

      Bobber I know that feeling and it’s not pleasant having gone through that together with a divorce in 2008 Thankfully I’ve been blessed and have regrouped and reshaped my priorities in life before it was too late for me Wish everyone the best

  19. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Warren Buffet is now investing in Japan. At this point, Japan will become great again before us ;)

    “Never bet against America” he says, and then afterwards he goes to first Gold and now Japan.

    Two years from now, he’ll be relocating to Beijing ;)

    • Lee says:

      Japan has some really, really, really good companies trading at really really good prices compared to the rest of the world.

      And a lot of those companies have a whole lot of CASH on their books.

      Regional banks are in world of hurt though and I’m not sure about chasing those trading companies that he bought.

      I guess it is a problem when you have so much to invest that you are restricted to megacap shares.

      No riots, violence, or the other stuff going in Japan either.

    • DeerInHeadlights says:

      If he doesn’t bite the dust before then… Scruples, principles, ideologies, loyalties etc. aren’t primary concerns for investors/capitalists, maximizing gains is.

    • cb says:

      He talks his own book. Always.

      Warren cares about Warren.

  20. BuySome says:

    GSR dropped below 70. Will we be seeing the rising tide of the “poor man’s gold” with faith in currency evaporating? Or will this be another game to squash the masses after the big set-up? Business as usual, or unusual for the long term?

  21. Curious says:

    Let’s hope whoever wins the election doesn’t continue to rEVITAlize the economy with dollars from heaven like some other countries did during the last depression.

  22. akiddy111 says:

    Tesla stock is doing awfully well, exponentially well lately… since inception actually.

    I also bought Zoom stock back in April when it became apparent to me that nobody (outside of my wife and kids at my locked down house) would talk to me unless i get myself set up with Zoom.

    Anyway, the stock has done terribly well,. I trimmed some of my holdings but sorta wish i had not, judging by AH report and subsequent activity.

    P.S. I always get put in moderation here.. It makes sense as i am kind of an optimistic investor by nature. Obviously, optimism goes against the general grain of things here. To each their own, i suppose.

  23. Lee says:

    And from Melbourne, Victoria:

    “Greens leader Samantha Ratnam will return to Parliament today and vote for the government’s bill to extend state-of-emergency powers for a further six months.”

    Go much for freedom for another six months………………..Maybe we’ll set the world record for time in lockdown which is hitting house prices:

    “Melbourne house values fell by 1.4 per cent in August, dragging down the national property market with warnings the winding back of key federal government support measures could hit prices in coming weeks.

    CoreLogic’s monthly measure of house values showed Melbourne suffered the biggest hit of any capital through August as the stage four lockdown was introduced.

    House values in Melbourne fell by 4 per cent through the past quarter and for the year so far are down by 2.5 per cent.”

    Gee, who would have guessed at that result?

    Only two new listings for currently built houses in the past week for the entire post code area. Hard to measure something when there isn’t any much current activity. In other words the RE market around here is basically dead.

    Six house completed transaction in the past week – these were probably listed several months back.

  24. Kasadour says:

    Please delete -^^^ went in wrong spot

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