Americans Have Already Skipped Payments On More Than 100 Million Loans, And Job Losses Continue To Escalate

Those that have been hoping for some sort of a “V-shaped recovery” have had their hopes completely dashed.  U.S. workers continue to lose jobs at a staggering rate, and economic activity continues to remain at deeply suppressed levels all over the nation.  Of course this wasn’t supposed to happen now that states have been “reopening” their economies.  We were told that things would soon be getting back to normal and that the economic numbers would rebound dramatically.  But that is not happening.  In fact, the number of Americans that filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week was much higher than expected

Weekly jobless claims stayed above 1 million for the 13th consecutive week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the U.S. economy.

First-time claims totaled 1.5 million last week, higher than the 1.3 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting. The government report’s total was 58,000 lower than the previous week’s 1.566 million, which was revised up by 24,000.

To put this in perspective, let me once again remind my readers that prior to this year the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000.  So even though more than 44 million Americans had already filed initial claims for unemployment benefits before this latest report, there were still enough new people losing jobs to more than double that old record from 1982.

That is just astounding.  We were told that the economy would be regaining huge amounts of jobs by now, but instead job losses remain at a catastrophic level that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history.

With the addition of this latest number, a grand total of nearly 46 million Americans have now filed initial claims for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

If you can read that statement and still believe that the U.S. economy is not imploding, I would like to know what you are smoking, because it must be pretty powerful.

Some of the things that we are seeing happen around the country right now are absolutely nuts.  For example, earlier this week in Kentucky it was being reported that people were waiting in line for up to 8 hours to talk with a state official face to face about their unprocessed unemployment claims…

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

By now, the U.S. economy was supposed to be roaring back to life and we were supposed to be entering a new golden age of American prosperity.

Unfortunately, the truth is that more bad economic news is hitting us on a continual basis, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

Over the past few days, we have learned that Hilton is laying off 22 percent of its corporate staff, and AT&T has announced that it will be eliminating 3,400 jobs and closing 250 stores…

The wireless carrier AT&T is cutting 3,400 jobs and shutting down 250 stores over the next few weeks, according to a statement from the Communications Workers of America, a union representing AT&T workers.

The AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless retail closures will affect 1,300 jobs, while the other layoffs are said to be affecting technical and clerical workers.

Needless to say, all of these job losses are having a tremendous ripple effect throughout the economy.

Without paychecks coming in, a lot of Americans are having a really tough time paying their bills, and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that payments have already been skipped on more than 100 million loans…

Americans have skipped payments on more than 100 million student loans, auto loans and other forms of debt since the coronavirus hit the U.S., the latest sign of the toll the pandemic is taking on people’s finances.

The number of accounts that enrolled in deferment, forbearance or some other type of relief since March 1 and remain in such a state rose to 106 million at the end of May, triple the number at the end of April, according to credit-reporting firm TransUnion.

Wow.

To me, that is an almost unimaginable number, and it has become clear that a tremendous amount of pain is ahead for the financial institutions that are holding these loans.

A lot of people out there are going to keep hoping that there will be some sort of an economic rebound, but the cold, hard reality of the matter is that fear of COVID-19 is going to keep a large segment of the population from resuming normal economic activities for the foreseeable future.  And it certainly doesn’t help that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has been steadily rising over the past couple of weeks and that the mainstream media has been endlessly warning that a “second wave” is coming.

If you doubt what I am saying, just look at what is happening to the restaurant industry.  We had started to see a small bit of improvement in the numbers, but now fear of a “second wave” has caused restaurant traffic to start cratering again

After three months of slow but consistent improvement in restaurant dining data in the US and across the globe, in its latest update on “the state of the restaurant industry”, OpenTable today reported the biggest drop in seated restaurant diners (from online, phone and walk-in reservations) since the depth of the global shutdown in March.

As shown in the OpenTable graphic below, on Sunday, June 14, restaurant traffic suddenly tumbled, sliding from a -66.5% y/y decline as of June 13 to -78.8% globally.

This was mostly due to a sharp drop in US restaurant diners, which plunged by 13% – from -65% to -78% – the biggest one day drop since the start of the shutdown in the US, and the second biggest one day drop on record.

Business travel is another area where we are seeing signs of big trouble ahead.  The following comes from Yves Smith

Business travel is not coming back any time soon. People are getting accustomed to Zoom. And word may also get out that domestic flying is much worse than it used to be, which will be a deterrent to those who might be so bold as to want to get on a plane. That is a fundamental blow to airlines, airport vendors, hotels, restaurants, and convention centers. Hotel occupancy in April was 24.5% which if anything seems high based on my personal datapoints. The pricings I see say that hotel operators are not expecting much if any improvement through the summer.

Like many of you, I wish that economic conditions would go back to the way they used to be, but that simply is not going to happen.

Yes, we will see economic numbers go up and down over the coming months, but a return to “the good times” is not in the cards.

And what hardly anyone realizes is that this is just the beginning of our problems, and I am working on a new project right now which will explain why this is true in great detail.

So stay tuned, because things are about to get really, really “interesting”.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

2020 Has Been A Miserable Year, And Americans Are The Unhappiest They Have Been In Ages

What a year this has been so far.  First, the greatest public health crisis in 100 years hit us, then the U.S. economy imploded, and now the streets of many of our major cities resemble war zones after weeks of rioting, looting and violence.  It has been one thing after another, and this has taken a great toll on the mental health of the American people.  Of course we weren’t exactly in great shape coming into this year.  In 2019, it was being reported that the suicide rate in the U.S. was at an all-time record high, alcohol-related deaths were at an all-time record high, and drug overdose deaths were at an all-time record high.  So the truth is that we were already deeply miserable before 2020 came along, and now a brand new survey has discovered that as a result of everything that has happened so far this year we have become even more unhappy

Spoiler alert: 2020 has been rough on the American psyche. Folks in the U.S. are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years.

This bold – yet unsurprising – conclusion comes from the COVID Response Tracking Study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. It finds that just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% who said the same in 2018.

Would you say that you are “very happy” with your life?

I hope so, and I would like to think that most of my readers are more content with their lives than the general population as a whole.

Personally, I would definitely label myself as “very happy”, but it looks like most of the population definitely does not feel the same way.

According to the survey, the coronavirus lockdowns are one of the big reasons why Americans are feeling less happy these days.  Being forced to stay away from others has caused many people to feel increasingly lonely

About twice as many Americans report being lonely today as in 2018, and not surprisingly given the lockdowns that tried to contain the spread of the coronavirus, there has also been a drop in satisfaction with social activities and relationships. Compared with 2018, Americans also are about twice as likely to say they sometimes or often have felt a lack of companionship (45% vs. 27%) and felt left out (37% vs. 18%) in the past four weeks.

Humans are inherently social creatures, and we were created to love and be loved.

I think that our politicians greatly underestimated the damage that social isolation would cause for many people.  In some cases, the consequences have been absolutely devastating.

Meanwhile, a lot of Americans are also feeling unhappy these days due to economic reasons.

Up to this point in 2020, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently shut down, economic activity all over the planet has dropped precipitously, and more than 44 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits.

Initially, it was hoped that most of those jobs would eventually come back, but now it has become very clear that is not going to happen.  In fact, one new estimate is projecting that a whopping 42 percent of the job losses “will be permanent”

“50% of U.S. job losses come from the combination of lockdown and weak demand, 30% from the reallocation shock, and 20% from high unemployment benefits,” Bloomberg found.

A report by the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago estimated 42% of layoffs that occurred as a result of the pandemic will be permanent.

In other words, millions upon millions of Americans that have lost their jobs during this pandemic will never be getting their old jobs back.

When I first started telling my readers that a lot of these jobs would never return, I got some really nasty emails.

There were some people that were absolutely incensed that I would suggest such a thing, but now the truth of the matter has become obvious to everyone.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the population was not prepared for an economic shock of this magnitude.  In fact, another new survey has found that 33 percent of all Americans “do not feel prepared to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic”

Even before COVID-19 was a household name, many Americans struggled to build up an emergency fund. Now, for some, the need for such a foundation is painfully clear. A full third – 33% – of respondents said they do not feel prepared to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic.

“If our current financial situation gets worse before it gets better, Americans need to have money set aside that they can lean back on as a last resort,” Frerichs said. “If you don’t currently have an emergency fund, try to set aside as much as you can every month, and aim to build enough to cover between three and six months of living expenses.”

For years, I have been strongly urging my readers to build up their emergency funds, and hopefully most of them heeded that advice.

Because things are not going to be turning around any time soon.  The bad news is that much of the economic suffering that had been deferred by unprecedented government intervention is about to hit us in a major way, and the really bad news is that the economic problems that we are facing now are going to pale in comparison to what we will be facing in future years.

Needless to say, this is going to put even more stress on the mental health of Americans.

So if you think that people are going absolutely nuts right now, just wait until you see how bad things get when our society really starts to melt down.

But just because things will be falling apart all around you does not mean that you have to be personally miserable.

If you derive meaning and purpose in life from your career, your ambitions, your bank account, your social status and all of the things you have accumulated, then you will definitely have an exceedingly difficult time dealing with the things that are coming.

However, if instead you choose to derive meaning and purpose in life from the things that really matter, you will not be shaken even if all of your plans, programs and material possessions are taken from you.

All of human history has been building up to the moment that we are living in right now, and you were born for such a time as this.  So don’t crawl into a hole and complain about how bad things are as conditions deteriorate.  Instead, choose to stand up and become the person that you were created to be.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

This Is Why We Are Facing A 6 Week Countdown To Immense Economic Despair…

Many of the emergency economic measures that were put into place to support the American people financially throughout this pandemic are about to disappear, and that means that big trouble is on the horizon.  Right now, we are in the midst of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Economic activity has fallen dramatically, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently closed, and more than 44 million Americans have lost a job so far in 2020.  But up to this point most Americans are not feeling too much economic pain thanks to unprecedented intervention by the federal government.  Unfortunately, that short-term boost of artificial relief is about to wear off, and that is going to cause some major problems as we approach the end of this calendar year.

Earlier today, two sentences from a Buzzfeed article about the extreme economic despair that is ahead of us really got my attention…

The US economy right now is like a jumbo jet that’s in a steady glide after both its engines flamed out. In about six weeks, it will likely crash into the side of a mountain.

I think that is a perfect description of what we are facing, except that I would replace “U.S. economy” with “U.S. consumers”.

The truth is that the economy has already crashed, but consumers have been shielded from the effects of that crash by trillions of dollars in emergency government spending and other unprecedented measures

What’s kept us in the air so far is an extraordinary government relief effort. In most states, evictions have been temporarily banned, preventing a mass homelessness crisis. Most federal student loan payments have been put on hold, removing one of the largest recurring monthly expenses that millions of people face. Banks were ordered to give their customers a six-month break on mortgage payments if requested.

Most importantly, and counterintuitively, household income sharply increased in April as hundreds of billions of dollars in lost wages were replaced by trillions in government spending. The government sent out more than 159 million stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per adult (more if you have kids), and more than 20 million unemployed people became eligible for an extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits. The result, according to Bloomberg, was the largest monthly increase in household income ever recorded.

What we have witnessed has been a sudden transfer of wealth that is unlike anything we have ever seen in all of U.S. history, and this has allowed most Americans to get through the past few months without too much of a problem.  In fact, many unemployed workers have been bringing home more money than they did when they were actually working.

But on July 31st (about 6 weeks from now) that is all going to change.

The $600 unemployment bonuses are scheduled to end on that date, and President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have made it clear that they have no intention of extending them.

In addition, it looks like there will be no more direct checks from the government for ordinary Americans even if another “stimulus bill” is passed.

So tens of millions of Americans will soon be facing a future in which they are bringing in very little income.

In addition, the various bans on evictions around the country will soon be coming to an end, as will the grace periods for mortgage payments.

Without enough income coming in, a lot of Americans will soon be losing their homes, and this will likely really start ramping up as we head into the holiday season.

On top of everything else, the grace period on federal student loans will come to an end at the beginning of October.

Ouch.

Basically, all of the economic pain that had been deferred will come rushing back with a vengeance over the next several months.

Of course Congress could delay things a bit more by borrowing and spending trillions of more dollars that we simply do not have, but all of the reckless spending that they have done already has put us in very perilous territory

Trillions are now whooshing by at a breath-taking pace. The US gross national debt – the total of all Treasury securities outstanding – jumped by $1 trillion over the past five weeks, from May 4 through June 8, and by $2.5 trillion for the 11 weeks since March 23.

The total US national debt outstanding has reached $26 trillion, according to the Treasury Department.

It took from the founding of the United States until 1981 for the U.S. national debt to reach one trillion dollars, and now we have added that same amount to the debt in just five weeks.

Wow.

Our elected officials are absolutely destroying our future, but most Americans don’t seem too alarmed by this.

Instead, many are clamoring for even more “free money”, because they say that what they have gotten so far is not nearly enough.

Of course the federal spending that has already taken place has not exactly had the desired effect.

Americans were supposed to take the money they were receiving and spend it.

But instead, one recent survey found that most Americans are actually cutting back on their spending right now…

  • Saving more money: 34% of survey respondents indicate they’ve upped their savings rate because of the novel coronavirus.
  • Reducing spending: During these turbulent times, 59% of Americans have cut their budgets so they aren’t spending as much money as they did pre-pandemic.
  • Re-evaluating their priorities: 48% of those surveyed indicate they are prioritizing living expenses, while 30% of respondents indicate their top priority is consumables, including food and drink.

No matter how much money Congress showers on the American people, they aren’t going to be able to eliminate the overwhelming fear that COVID-19 has created.

For the foreseeable future, a large portion of the population is simply not going to resume their normal economic patterns because they are scared of the virus.

And in many of our large cities, rioting, looting and violence has depressed economic activity even further.

A major economic downturn is here, and it looks like it is going to be very, very deep.

Congress was able to minimize the discomfort for a while, but those emergency measures were only intended to help for a short period of time, and in about six weeks the entire country is going to start feeling a tremendous amount of pain.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

No, The U.S. Economy Will Definitely Not Be Returning To “Normal”. In Fact, Things Will Soon Get Even Worse.

2020 has been quite a year so far.  It has been one nightmare after another, and yet the economic optimists continue to insist that economic activity will soon snap back to normal levels somehow.  So the economic optimists aren’t really alarmed by the fact that the core areas of our major cities have been torched, gutted and looted by rioters, because they assume that all of this violence is just a temporary phenomenon and that any damage that has been done can be repaired.  And they aren’t really alarmed by the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to escalate again.  In fact, over the last seven days we have seen the number of newly confirmed cases around the globe hit levels that we have never seen before.  They just assume that “the worst is behind us” and that the vast majority of the businesses and jobs that have been lost during this pandemic will be quickly recovered.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were actually correct?

Sadly, the truth is that economic conditions will not be returning to normal.  Yes, some of the jobs that were lost will be recovered as states start to “reopen” their economies.  But more than 100,000 businesses have already permanently closed during this new economic downturn, and all of those jobs are lost forever.

And yes, the level of economic activity will rise as states end their lockdowns, but it will still be much lower than it was before COVID-19 started spreading like wildfire in the United States.

At this point, even the perpetually optimistic OECD is admitting that global economic activity as a whole will be way down in 2020

If a second outbreak is seen, the OECD forecasts global growth will plunge by 7.6% in 2020, and “remain well short” of its growth activity levels from 2019, suggesting no V-shaped recovery. If a second wave can be avoided, the OECD forecasts the world economy will still contract by 6% this year and again fail to recover to pre-corona levels by the end of 2021.

“Both scenarios are sobering, as the economic activity does not and cannot return to normal under these circumstances,” OECD chief economist Laurence Boone wrote in the report.

A 6 or 7 percent decline in worldwide GDP is definitely not “normal”.

Actually, if this OECD projection turns out to be accurate, we will be talking about a “global depression” by the end of the year.

Here in the U.S., a key measure of consumer optimism just dropped by 5.4 percent even though state economies all over the country are “reopening”…

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, a leading national poll on consumer confidence, declined by 5.4% in June. The index’s reading of 47.0 is at its lowest mark since September 2016. It also places the index in negative territory for the third consecutive month. For the IBD/TIPP indexes, a reading below 50.0 indicates pessimism.

But all of the optimists keep telling me that things are “getting better”.

In fact, they just keep on insisting that a new golden age for America is right around the corner.

Well, apparently the largest jewelry retailer in the U.S. doesn’t share that optimism, because they just announced that they will be closing at least 150 stores

The world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry says it will not reopen at least 150 of its North America stores that were temporarily shuttered in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Signet Jewelers, which operates 3,172 stores globally primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry and Piercing Pagoda, also plans to close an additional 150 stores by the end of its fiscal year, which ends in February 2021.

Overall, the U.S. retail industry is facing a tsunami of store closings that is unlike anything we have ever seen before

As many as 25,000 U.S. stores could close permanently this year after the coronavirus pandemic devastated an industry where many mall-based retailers were already struggling.

The number would shatter the record set in 2019, when more than 9,800 stores closed their doors for good, according to a report from retail and tech data firm Coresight Research.

That sure doesn’t sound like an “economic recovery” to me.

Meanwhile, the reckless money creation that the Federal Reserve has been engaging in is starting to show up in our food prices.  According to Nielsen, we have seen some startling food inflation over the past three months…

Market-research firm Nielsen said food prices rose 5.8% in the 13 weeks from March 1 to May 30 compared with the year-ago period.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.  The cost of living is going to continue to rise aggressively, and this comes at a time when more than 42 million Americans have already lost their jobs.

Yes, some of those jobs are starting to come back.

But more Americans continue to lose jobs each week as well.

And economic activity will be higher than it was when virtually everything was closed down.

But more businesses are shutting their doors permanently and declaring bankruptcy on a daily basis.

This new chapter in our economic history is just getting started, and a tremendous amount of pain is ahead of us.

Of course Fed Chair Jerome Powell completely disagrees with that assessment, and he is trying really hard to convince all of us that a new economic depression has not begun

Sure, unemployment’s only comparison is the Great Depression. And businesses across the country are closed. And many people are struggling to buy food. But Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell doesn’t see any similarities.

“I don’t think that the Great Depression is a good example or likely outcome for a model of what’s happening here at all, I really don’t,” he said. “There are so many fundamental differences.”

And I would actually concur with Powell that what we are facing will not be very similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In the long run, what we are facing will be far worse.

The “perfect storm” is here, and our economy is being shaken to the core.  Many people continue to be hopeful that the worst is now behind us, but what they don’t realize is that what we have experienced so far is just a warm up act for what is still to come.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

Most U.S. States Have ‘Reopened’ Their Economies, So Why Does Unemployment Continue To Spiral Out Of Control?

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  Once states started to “reopen” their economies, the tsunami of unemployment was supposed to end.  But instead, we continue to see Americans lose jobs at a pace that is far beyond anything we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history.  All the way back in 1982, there was a week when 695,000 Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits, and that all-time record was never broken until this year.  Of course we have seen monster number after monster number here in 2020, and we just learned that last week another 1.877 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits…

Filings for unemployment insurance claims totaled 1.877 million last week in a sign that the worst is over for the coronavirus-related jobs crisis but that the level of unemployment remains stubbornly high.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 1.775 million new claims. The Labor Department’s total nevertheless represented a decline from the previous week’s upwardly revised total of 2.126 million.

So even though more than 40 million Americans had already lost their jobs in 2020, there were still enough people losing their jobs last week to surpass the old record from 1982 by more than a million.

Just think about that.

Overall, a grand total of 42.6 million Americans have now lost their jobs since the pandemic began, and that makes this the largest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin.

And when the monthly employment report comes out on Friday, the official U.S. unemployment rate is expected to surpass 20 percent

The numbers came the day before the Labor Department releases its nonfarm payrolls report for May. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones are expecting a decline of 8.3 million and a 20.5% unemployment rate, more than double the highest previous level since the Great Depression.

By now, everyone pretty much understands that the official unemployment rate greatly understates the true level of unemployment in this country.

But even if we take it at face value, the unemployment rate is now far higher than it has been at any point since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

With tens of millions of Americans now out of work, a lot of people are now finding it extremely difficult to pay the bills.  The following comes from an NPR article entitled “Millions Of Americans Skip Payments As Tidal Wave Of Defaults And Evictions Looms”

Americans are skipping payments on mortgages, auto loans and other bills. Normally, that could mean massive foreclosures, evictions, cars repossessions and people’s credit getting destroyed.

But much of that has been put on pause. Help from Congress and leniency from lenders have kept impending financial disaster at bay for millions of people. But that may not last for long.

An “economic recovery” was supposed to have started by now, but that isn’t happening.

And now the horrifying riots that have erupted all over the nation are going to make things even worse.

Our urban areas contain countless numbers of small businesses, and economists are warning that all of this civil unrest will be “a death blow” for many of them…

Some economists are predicting a death blow to small businesses that were already under unprecedented financial strain. If they weren’t ransacked, looted, and destroyed by hooligans, they will feel the macro effects of urban decline and flight, plummeting consumer confidence, falling property values, and worsening budgetary crises for state and local governments.

Sadly, a lot of the businesses that the rioters are destroying are actually minority-owned businesses.

What we are watching unfold is truly a great national tragedy, and it isn’t going to end any time soon.

Needless to say, there are some big companies that are going to be severely tempted to give up on our core urban areas completely.  If there is a constant threat that your stores are going to be smashed, looted or set on fire, that doesn’t make for a profitable business environment.

For example, it is being reported that Walmart may consider leaving the city of Chicago, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot is pleading with them to stay

Mayor Lightfoot said she was on a conference call with Walmart and other major retailers that had stores looted or heavily damaged during the unrest in Chicago. She said she pleaded with them to not abandon Chicago.

“I think in the case of Walmart, what they were focused on was assessing the damage. They are doing an effort to donate fresh produce, to the extent of what’s left so it doesn’t perish, and other perishables, and they are talking their time, as I would expect.”

More violence is expected around the nation this weekend, and without a doubt all of this rioting is going to have a massive impact on the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, more than 129,000 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported around the globe during the 24 hour period that just ended, and that is the largest one day total that I have seen so far.

In other words, the coronavirus pandemic is a long, long way from over.

Despite what the talking heads in the mainstream media are telling you, the truth is that the U.S. economy is going to continue to crumble.  We have already plunged into a new economic depression, and bankers are now warning companies that the flow of credit is about to get a lot tighter

Bankers have a message for America’s debt-laden companies: raise money now, because things could get a lot worse.

The gradual reopening of businesses after months-long shutdowns and a pick up in manufacturing activity have given investors reason for optimism in recent weeks. But underwriters who cater to heavily indebted corporations are offering their clients a bleak preview of what may lie ahead.

There is so much fear in the air, and in such an environment financial institutions get very stingy with their money.

In the days ahead, it is going to become much more difficult for just about everyone to borrow money, and that is going to have very serious implications for our economic outlook.

Of course things are changing so rapidly that it has become virtually impossible to predict what U.S. economic numbers will look like in the months ahead.

So far in 2020, we have already been hit by a major global pandemic, an economic depression, and the worst civil unrest in decades.

It has been “one thing after another”, and the truth is that this “perfect storm” is just getting started…

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

There Will Be A Lot More Rioting, Looting And Civil Unrest As The U.S. Economy Continues To Crumble

What we have been witnessing on the streets of Minneapolis is just the beginning.  Our nation is so deeply divided, and a large portion of the population is losing faith in the basic institutions that govern our society.  Personally, I don’t know how anyone can watch the video of what happened to George Floyd without having an emotional reaction.  Police brutality has been a massive problem in the United States for many years, and it has gotten to the point where most of the country no longer has faith in the police.  Of course the rioters are not helping their cause by burning down the communities that they are supposedly defending.  And after causing so much chaos on Wednesday night, protesters were back in the streets of Minneapolis on Thursday

Protests and, in some cases, violence, continued Thursday in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody after a white officer pinned him to the ground under his knee.

Hundreds of protesters flooded Minneapolis streets Thursday evening for a march through downtown. Traffic was halted as a crowd of people stretched for up to four blocks. Protesters shouted “I can’t breathe” and “no justice, no peace; prosecute the police” as volunteer marshals in highlighter-colored vests directed traffic.

Sadly, this is just a small preview of what is coming to major cities all over America.

If you think that these riots about police brutality are intense, just wait until the economic riots start.

We are moving into a time when millions upon millions of Americans will become increasingly desperate as we plunge even deeper into a new economic depression.  On Thursday, we learned that another 2.1 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week…

First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 2.1 million last week, the lowest total since the coronavirus crisis began though indicative that a historically high number of Americans remain separated from their jobs.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 2.05 million. The total represented a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised 2.438 million.

This was the 10th week in a row when the number of new claims for unemployment benefits has been above 2 million.

As I keep reminding my readers, prior to this year the highest that number had ever been for a single week was 695,000 in 1982.

So even after so many catastrophic weeks in a row, we are still at a level that is approximately three times higher than that old record.

Overall, 40.8 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits over the past 10 weeks.  That is the greatest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin, and it means that more than one-fourth of all the jobs in the United States have already been wiped out.

But for now, the impact of those job losses has been cushioned by the extremely generous $600 a week unemployment bonuses that the federal government has been handing out, but those benefits are set to expire at the end of July

Right now, many are able to take advantage of an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits provided by the federal government on top of each state’s standard jobless benefit. But that benefit is set to expire at the end of July if Congress does not pass another stimulus bill to extend benefits.

If those benefits are not extended we will see a massive national temper tantrum, and right now President Trump and Republican leaders in the Senate do not plan to extend them.

We shall see what happens, but we may soon have tens of millions of very angry unemployed Americans that are unable to pay their bills anymore.

And with each passing day, more bad economic news just keeps rolling in.  We just learned that orders for durable goods were down 19.4 percent on a year over year basis last month, and we also just learned that pending home sales were down 34.6 percent in April compared to the same month a year ago.

As I discussed yesterday, we are watching a full-blown economic collapse begin to unfold, and the fact that many U.S. states are starting to “reopen for business” is not going to stop the momentum that has now been created.

During the first few weeks of the pandemic, there was just a trickle of major bankruptcies, but now that trickle has become a flood

In the first few weeks of the pandemic, it was just a trickle: companies like Alaskan airline Ravn Air pushed into bankruptcy as travel came to a halt and markets collapsed. But the financial distress wrought by the shutdowns only deepened, producing what is now a wave of insolvencies washing through America’s corporations.

In May alone, some 27 companies reporting at least $50 million in liabilities sought court protection from creditors — the highest number since the Great Recession. They range from well-known U.S. mainstays such as J.C. Penney Co. and J. Crew Group Inc. to air carriers Latam Airlines Group SA and Avianca Holdings, their business decimated as travelers stayed put.

And we are watching store closings occur at a rate that we have never seen before in our entire history.

At this point, Coresight Research is projecting that about 25,000 stores will permanently close by the end of this calendar year

Coresight Research, which tracks retail openings and closings, has upped its projected store closures for 2020 from 8,000 at the beginning of the year to 15,000 at the beginning of March to about 25,000 now.

“That’s unlike anything the industry has ever seen,” Coresight CEO and founder Deborah Weinswig said. “It’s the speed with which it’s all happening which has been a little surprising.”

So much anger was building up all over America during the “good years”, and now this new economic depression is going to make things much, much worse.

When there are no jobs available and people can’t even provide the basics for their families, we are going to see frustration on a scale that is unlike anything we have ever witnessed before.

So please take careful note of what is happening in the streets of Minneapolis right now, because that is what the future is going to look like in all of our major cities.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

Nobody Ever Imagined That The Job Losses Would Get This Bad So Quickly

If you tried to warn people in late 2019 that about 40 million Americans would lose their jobs by the middle of 2020, nobody would have believed you.  Personally, I operate a website called “The Economic Collapse Blog”, and I wouldn’t have believed you either.  Even though I have been loudly warning that this sort of an economic crisis was coming, I never imagined that we would lose so many jobs in such a short period of time.  As I discussed the other day, more than a quarter of all jobs in the United States have already been wiped out, and the job losses just keep on coming.  In fact, Boeing is currently in the process of laying off thousands of highly skilled workers

Nearly 13,000 Boeing workers, mostly in the US, are set to lose their jobs in the coming weeks, as cuts at the American aerospace giant take effect.

More layoffs are expected, some of which may affect the UK.

The reductions had been expected since Boeing revealed plans last month to slash its global workforce by 10% – or roughly 16,000 jobs.

A lot of those are very high paying jobs with good benefits, and they will not be easy to replace.

Meanwhile, major retailers all over America keep going down one after another.  On Wednesday, we learned that Tuesday Morning has decided to file for bankruptcy

Off-price retailer Tuesday Morning filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday with plans to close more than a third of its stores.

Tuesday Morning had been struggling when the coronavirus pandemic began and went into a free fall when it was forced to temporarily close its locations due to the crisis.

Just like the Boeing jobs, these are jobs that are never going to come back.

At this point, there is no way that I can write about all of the companies that are laying off workers, but one more example that I found to be quite notable is the fact that even CBS News is letting people go

“I’m really sorry,” network president Susan Zirinsky said Wednesday on an all-staff Zoom meeting about the cuts. “There is not a person who won’t be missed.”

CBS News was hit hard by a round of corporate cost-cutting that saw “a single-digit percentage” of the network’s news staffers laid off, according to an estimate given by network president Susan Zirinsky during a Wednesday afternoon all-hands conference.

The corporate elite that own CBS News have very deep pockets, and Americans are watching more news than ever right now, and so it is definitely not a good sign for the economy that even CBS News feels forced to lay off workers.

Of course many unemployed workers are not exactly “deeply suffering” yet because of the huge weekly bonuses that they are getting from the federal government right now.

Earlier today, I was directed to a post on a popular Internet forum where a newly unemployed worker was describing how great his life has become now that he is unemployed

Before COVID I was miserable.

I had a job working $14.75/hr and hated waking up most days. I’ve since been laid off (obviously) but am one of those who is making much more by NOT working.

I used to make $550-600 per week depending on my hours but since COVID began, I’m clearing just over $1000/week. My gf is in the same situation and she’s also clearing just over $1000.

Without any job to go to, he can now spend his days endlessly hanging out with his newly unemployed girlfriend, and he claims that he can’t even imagine ever going back to his old life

Today we plan to do some hiking since it’s going to be so nice out and I’ll be using my new grill to cook up some steak tonight. The gf is kind of a wine snob so she likes to splurge on really nice reds (which I’ll definitely be having later as well).

I really don’t understand people who say they’re more stressed or are fighting with their gf/wife more than before. It makes absolutely no sense to me. These have been the best 2 months I’ve had in a while. I can’t imagine going back to my old life and way of doing things. NOT HAPPENING!

The only thing that isn’t ideal right now is not being able to travel normally but I only vacationed once or twice a year before due to work/money issues. Now I’m able to save $800-1000/month with COVID stimulus and bonus so we’ll definitely be taking a nice vacation at some point this summer.

The bad news for this young couple and for tens of millions of other unemployed Americans is that President Trump and the Republicans in the U.S. Senate do not plan to extend the unemployment bonuses once they expire in July.

So from that point forward, there will be millions upon millions of Americans that are not able to pay their monthly bills.

In fact, the New York Times is already warning that we will soon be facing “a wave of evictions as government relief payments and legal protections run out for millions of out-of-work Americans”…

The United States, already wrestling with an economic collapse not seen in a generation, is facing a wave of evictions as government relief payments and legal protections run out for millions of out-of-work Americans who have little financial cushion and few choices when looking for new housing.

The hardest hit are tenants who had low incomes and little savings even before the pandemic, and whose housing costs ate up more of their paychecks. They were also more likely to work in industries where job losses have been particularly severe.

Initially, the generous unemployment bonuses that Congress passed were supposed to help tide unemployed workers over until this pandemic went away.

But what if it sticks around for multiple years like the Spanish Flu did?

And the Washington Post is now trying to convince us that there is “a good chance” that COVID-19 “will never go away”…

There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away.

Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population.

Yes, this virus could become a “permanent crisis”, and without a doubt the elite are already trying to use it to fundamentally reshape our society.

And as long as a certain percentage of the population is deeply afraid of this virus, economic activity will continue to be depressed at levels that are way below what we would consider to be “normal”.

As the New York Times has admitted, “an economic collapse” is already here, and it is going to be incredibly painful.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

The Worst Unemployment Spike In U.S. History – 1 Out Of Every 4 Workers Has Filed For Unemployment Benefits In 2020

Even though most U.S. states have begun the process of “reopening” their economies, the unprecedented tsunami of job losses that we have been experiencing just continues to roll on.  On Thursday, we learned that another 2.4 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits during the previous week, and that brings the grand total for this pandemic to a whopping 38.6 million.  To get an idea of just how badly this swamps what we witnessed during the last recession, take a look at this chart.  This is the biggest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin, and analysts are expecting another huge number once again next week.

After my father got out of the U.S. Navy, he worked as a math teacher for many years, and throughout my life I have always had a deep appreciation for numbers.

And in this case, the numbers are telling us that we are facing something truly horrific.

During the month of February, the number of Americans that were currently employed peaked at 152,463,000.

If you take the 38.6 million workers that have filed for unemployment benefits during this crisis and divide it by 152,463,000, you will find that it gives you a figure of more than 25 percent.

In other words, more than one out of every four jobs in the United States is already gone, and more job losses will be coming week after week.

And of course not everyone that loses a job actually files a claim for unemployment benefits.  So the true percentage of Americans that have lost a job would be even higher.

It had been hoped that the unemployment numbers would begin to normalize once states began “reopening” their economies, but so far that is not really materializing.

For example, Georgia was one of the first states to begin lifting restrictions, but that state also “now leads the country in terms of the proportion of its workforce applying for unemployment assistance”

Georgia’s early move to start easing stay-at-home restrictions nearly a month ago has done little to stem the state’s flood of unemployment claims — illustrating how hard it is to bring jobs back while consumers are still afraid to go outside.

Weekly applications for jobless benefits have remained so elevated that Georgia now leads the country in terms of the proportion of its workforce applying for unemployment assistance. A staggering 40.3 percent of the state’s workers — two out of every five — has filed for unemployment insurance payments since the coronavirus pandemic led to widespread shutdowns in mid-March, a POLITICO review of Labor Department data shows.

Our politicians really didn’t understand what they were doing when they started locking down state after state.  Coming into 2020, the U.S. economy was in an extremely fragile state and was already moving rapidly toward recession territory, and now fear of COVID-19 has burst all of our economic bubbles.

The U.S. economy is now in a death spiral, and a survey that was just conducted by the Census Bureau came up with some numbers that are simply eye-popping

Nearly half of Americans say that either their incomes have declined or they live with another adult who has lost pay through a job loss or reduced hours, the Census Bureau said in survey data released Wednesday.

More than one-fifth of Americans said they had little or no confidence in their ability to pay the next month´s rent or mortgage on time, the survey found.

Already, we are beginning to see mortgage delinquencies rise to very alarming levels.

In fact, in April we witnessed the largest single month jump that has ever been recorded

Mortgage delinquencies surged by 1.6 million in April, the largest single-month jump in history, according to a report from Black Knight, a mortgage technology and data provider. The data includes both homeowners past due on mortgage payments who aren’t in forbearance, along with those in forbearance plans and who didn’t make a mortgage payment in April.

At 6.45%, the national delinquency rate nearly doubled from 3.06% in March, the largest single-month increase recorded, and nearly three times the prior record for a single month during the height of the financial crisis in late 2008, Black Knight said.

Sadly, the truth is that this is only going to get worse.

The “enhanced unemployment benefits” that Congress recently passed have been helping many unemployed Americans to pay their mortgages, but now it appears that President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell do not intend to extend those benefits past the July deadline.  They are concerned that those benefits have been so generous that they have been discouraging many Americans from going back to work, and they are quite right about that.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just homeowners that have been missing payments.

At this point, the entire commercial real estate industry is on the precipice of a meltdown as rent payments and mortgage payments are being “skipped” all over the nation on a widespread basis.  On Thursday, we learned that even the owners of The Mall of America have been skipping their mortgage payments

The biggest shopping center in the country, The Mall of America, has missed two months of payments on its $1.4 billion mortgage, a sign of just how much retail real estate owners are reeling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The mall, operated by private developers Triple Five Group, skipped mortgage payments in April and May, according to Trepp, a New York-based research firm that tracks the commercial mortgage-backed securities, or CMBS, market.

Unless Congress steps in and showers the entire commercial real estate industry with giant mountains of cash, I don’t see how an unprecedented meltdown can be averted.

It is going to be horrifying to watch, and it is going to absolutely dwarf anything that we witnessed in 2008.

Of course similar things can be said about the economy as a whole.  At this point, Bank of America is projecting that U.S. GDP will fall 40 percent on an annualized basis during the second quarter of this year…

Now that banks have had a chance to evaluate the collapse in the economy in the post-covid world, a new round of GDP forecast revisions is coming, and it’s a doozy, with Bank of America spearheading the latest effort by slashing its Q2 GDP forecast from -30% to -40%.

Not without a trace of irony, BofA’s chief economist Michelle Meyer writes that “words cannot describe” the loss in economic output, which is “unlike anything we have seen in modern history.”

When Bank of America starts sounding like The Economic Collapse Blog, that is a clear sign that things are really starting to fall apart in a major way.

Now that restrictions are being lifted all over the nation, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is starting to rise again, and fear of this virus is going to paralyze economic activity for the foreseeable future.

And what most Americans still don’t understand is that what we have experienced so far is just the beginning…

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

The Collapse Will Be Visible: “For Lease” And “Space Available” Signs Are Starting To Go Up All Over America

Initially, we were told that the coronavirus lockdowns would just “temporarily” disrupt the U.S. economy, but now it is becoming clear that a lot of the damage will be permanent.  We are starting to see businesses go belly up all over the country, and this includes some of the most iconic names in the retail world.  When J.C. Penney announced that it would be declaring bankruptcy and closing hundreds of stores, I warned that would just be the tip of the iceberg, and that has definitely turned out to be the case.  In fact, on Wednesday many analysts were absolutely shocked when news broke that Victoria’s Secret has decided to shut down about 250 stores

Victoria’s Secret plans to permanently close approximately 250 stores in the U.S. and Canada in 2020, its parent company L Brands announced Wednesday.

L Brands also plans to permanently close 50 Bath & Body Works stores in the U.S. and one in Canada, according to information the company posted online as part of its quarterly earnings.

If this pandemic had passed quickly, perhaps those stores wouldn’t have needed to be shut down.  But at this point it has become obvious that this virus is going to be with us for a long time to come.  In fact, the WHO just announced that on a global basis we just witnessed the largest number of newly confirmed cases on a single day so far.

Another major retailer that is closing down stores is Pier 1 Imports.  In fact, it is being reported that not a single one of their locations will survive

Pier 1 Imports, which previously said it would close half of its fleet of stores, now plans to close all of its locations.

The retailer, based in Fort Worth, Texas, announced in a news release Tuesday that it was seeking bankruptcy court approval to begin an “orderly wind-down” when stores are able to reopen “following the government-mandated closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

I was never a huge fan of Pier 1 Imports, but my wife liked to visit and see what they had, but now we will never be able to do that again.

Something about that really saddens me.

Of course it isn’t just retailers that are collapsing.  Car rental giant Hertz “is on the verge of bankrutpcy”, and things are not looking good at all…

Hertz is on the verge of bankruptcy. At the end of April, it disclosed it had missed a large amount of lease payments on its rental cars. Since then, it has entered into forbearance and waiver agreements with these lenders that give it until May 22 to come up with the money and a plan. Its cars, now parked at various parking lots around the country, are collateral for this debt.

Some of you old timers might remember the old Hertz commercials featuring O.J. Simpson.  Those were much simpler times, and to be honest I really miss them.

Unfortunately, times have really changed, and I seriously doubt that Hertz will be able to survive much longer in this very harsh economic environment.

Needless to say, a lot of businesses are going to die in the weeks and months ahead of us.  As I discussed the other day, it is now being projected that approximately one out of every four restaurants in the United States will be closing down permanently.

Can you imagine what this is going to look like?

We are going to have abandoned buildings all over the place, and this will especially be true in our more impoverished communities.

The only chance we have of pulling out of this economic death spiral is if there is a full scale return to normal economic activity all across America, but that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

Fear of COVID-19 is going to paralyze small and big businesses alike for the foreseeable future, and every new outbreak is going to spark more overreactions.

For instance, Ford just shut down two major production facilities just a few days after “reopening” them

Just days after reopening its American assembly plants, Ford temporarily shut down two separate factories because employees tested positive for Covid-19.

One plant in Chicago that builds the Ford Explorer, the Lincoln Aviator and the Ford Interceptor police car stopped operations Tuesday afternoon after two employees tested positive for Covid-19. Then, Ford’s plant in Dearborn Michigan that makes its bestselling F-150 pickup, shut down Wednesday.

If we keep shutting things down every time someone gets sick, our economic problems are just going to get worse and worse.

Look, the truth is that lots more people are going to get sick and lots more people are going to die.  In fact, one new study has concluded that the U.S. death toll will more than triple by the end of 2020 “even if current social distancing habits continue for months on end”

A new study suggests the number of Americans who will die after contracting the novel coronavirus is likely to more than triple by the end of the year, even if current social distancing habits continue for months on end.

The study, conducted by the Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy and Economics Institute at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, found that 1.3 percent of those who show symptoms of COVID-19 die, an infection fatality rate that is 13 times higher than a bad influenza season.

Of course it certainly doesn’t help that we continue to allow people from other countries where COVID-19 is raging to fly into the U.S. without any special screening whatsoever

A glamorous Russian blogger says she has proved that the US is open for foreign tourism again, despite the pandemic, according to video obtained by DailyMail.com.

Sofia Semyonova, 33, a fitness model, told how she traveled on a crammed Aeroflot flight with 500-plus passengers with ‘no social distancing’ from Moscow to New York City.

She used her B2 tourist visa to enter America from Russia’s coronavirus epicentre ‘in 30 seconds without any extra questions’.

I don’t know how this could possibly be happening, but apparently it is.

Eventually, COVID-19 will literally be just about everywhere, and almost everyone in the entire country will be exposed to it.

And fear of this virus will paralyze our economy for the foreseeable future.

So the truth is that the “for lease” and “space available” signs that you are now seeing are just the start.

A lot more are coming, and it is going to be a very dark chapter for our nation.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

Will Some Churches Be Forced To Close For The Entire Duration Of The COVID-19 Pandemic?

Isn’t it odd that Walmart stores all over the nation have remained open throughout this crisis but we are being told that it is “too risky” to hold a church service in many states?  During this crisis it has often been said that “my rights do not end where your fears begin”, but right now we are witnessing a stunning erosion of our First Amendment rights.  Churches remain closed in many states, and some churches in states that have “reopened” are now being forced to close down again.  For example, a Baptist church in Georgia has announced that they will not be holding any in-person worship services “for the foreseeable future”

A representative for the Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Ga., told The Christian Post in a statement on Monday that church decided earlier this month to no longer offer “in-person worship services for the foreseeable future” after confirming some of its families were “dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 virus.”

When that church started holding services again recently, extremely strict social distancing guidelines were put into place

“Seating was marked to only permit sitting within the six-foot guidelines, all doors were open to allow access without the touching of doors, and attendees were asked to enter in a social distancing manner and were dismissed in a formal manner as well to ensure that the social distancing measures were adhered by all,” the church told the outlet.

But even with all of those restrictions, COVID-19 started spreading in the church.

And so now that church has closed up shop indefinitely.

In Houston, another church that recently reopened has now been forced to close again

Days after the move by the church in Georgia, ABC News reported that Houston-based Holy Ghost Parish also did the same after it was discovered multiple members of the organization had contracted the novel coronavirus and one leader had died.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said the church, which had also reportedly begun hosting mass at the start of May as some coronavirus restrictions on certain businesses in Texas had begun to ease, decided to re-close last week after the death of Father Donnell Kirchner, 79.

Sadly, we will probably see a lot more stories like this in the weeks and months to come.

But no matter what we do, we aren’t going to be able to prevent people from catching the virus.  In order to do that, we would literally have to shut down everything for a very long time, and that is simply not going to happen.

Whether the current “shelter-in-place” restrictions remain in place or not, and whether we are holding church services or not, the truth is that this virus is going to continue to spread.

And it will keep spreading until the vast majority of the U.S. population has been exposed to the virus and herd immunity has been achieved.

So shutting down all of our churches is not going to solve anything, but the mainstream media keeps pumping out horror stories about how Christian gatherings are helping to spread COVID-19.  For example, the following comes from CNN

A person who later learned they were positive for Covid-19 attended a California religious service on Mother’s Day, exposing 180 other people to the novel coronavirus, according to local health officials.

The individual got a positive diagnosis for Covid-19 the day after the service and is now in isolation at home, Butte County Public Health said in a statement Friday.

And here is a story from NBC News about a church in Arkansas…

Two people infected with COVID-19 spread the virus to more than 30 people during church gatherings in Arkansas in early March, before the first case was ever diagnosed in that state, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday.

The cases illustrate how rapidly the virus can spread to others involved in faith-based organizations, and may have implications for places of worship as churches nationwide figure out how to reopen safely.

But why don’t we ever see any stories about how our major retail stores have become hotbeds for spreading the virus?

Without a doubt, it would be much easier to catch COVID-19 in a large retail store than it would be in a church.  Thousands upon thousands of people are constantly streaming through our big stores, and many of them have got to be absolutely teeming with the virus.

It just greatly disturbs me to see such a double standard going on.

If it is safe enough for people to go to Costco, then it is safe enough for them to go to church.

And the truth is that a lot of our churches are going to end up collapsing if they are not permitted to reopen soon.  According to the Washington Post, approximately one-third of all U.S. churches “have no savings”…

The novel coronavirus is pressing painfully on the soft underbelly of U.S. houses of worship: their finances. About a third of all congregations have no savings, according to the 2018-2019 National Congregations Study. Just 20 percent streamed their services and 48 percent were able to accept donations electronically, the study found, making it more challenging to serve the faithful and gather their donations during the virus shutdown.

Already, some churches have been forced to lay off staff and radically cut expenses.

If they are not allowed to resume normal activity for the foreseeable future, many of them will not end up surviving at all.

Even before this pandemic, it was estimated that somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 churches were dying each year in the United States.

Needless to say, the number for this year will be off the charts.

Of course some churches will insist on waiting to reopen until the threat of COVID-19 has completely passed, but that might be a really, really long time.

In fact, a draft Pentagon memo that was just made public is warning that this virus will remain a threat until “at least the summer of 2021”

The Defense Department should prepare to operate in a “globally-persistent” novel coronavirus (COVID-19) environment without an effective vaccine until “at least the summer of 2021,” according to a draft Pentagon memo obtained by Task & Purpose.

“We have a long path ahead, with the real possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19,” reads the memo, authored for Secretary of Defense Mark Esper but not yet bearing his signature.

There are very, very few churches in America that could afford to be shut down for that long.

And what most people don’t realize is that COVID-19 is not the worst thing we are going to face.  Much larger challenges are on the horizon, and they will shake our society to the core.

At a time like this, people need hope, and that is why it is so important for our churches to be up and running.

Unfortunately, many of them now have a closed sign, and that is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

“Free Money”: Most Americans Want The Government To Issue More Stimulus Checks

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”  That is a direct quote from Benjamin Franklin, and it has turned out to be quite prophetic.  Today, most of our politicians are socialists whether they accept that label or not, and the American people have come to expect the government “to do something for them” whenever any sort of a crisis comes along.  In response to this COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has borrowed and spent trillions more dollars that we do not have, and most Americans have been quite thrilled to receive their “stimulus checks”.  But of course now a lot of people are insisting that those checks were not enough and they want more.  In fact, one new survey just found that most Americans want the checks to keep coming.  The idea of “free money” is so seductive, but unfortunately most of the population simply does not understand that eventually there is a great price to be paid for throwing “free money” around.

So far, more than 300,000 people across the globe have died during this pandemic.  But during the Spanish Flu pandemic that stretched from 1918 to 1920, somewhere between 50 million and 100 million people died.  During that horrific pandemic, our society did not shut down and the federal government did not borrow and spend giant mountains of money in a desperate attempt to keep the economy afloat.  Instead, our leaders responded with common sense and quiet resolve, and it set the stage for a tremendous economic boom during “the Roaring Twenties”.

Unfortunately, this time around our leaders responded to COVID-19 by locking down nearly the entire country, and that is going to result in the largest GDP collapse in American history

In its latest projections, the CBO sees GDP capsizing 38% on an annualized basis in the second quarter with the 26 million more unemployed Americans than there were at the end of 2019.

The forecasts are roughly in line with Wall Street economists and slightly less dour than the most recent tracking number from the Atlanta Federal Reserve, which sees GDP falling about 42% in the April-to-June period.

Without a doubt, we are now in a very deep economic depression, and the months ahead look very bleak.

But instead of focusing on solutions, many Americans are desperate for the federal government to take care of them.  According to one recent survey, 82 percent of Americans want the government to issue more “stimulus checks”…

A whopping 82% of people feel that the one-time stimulus check of $1,200 is not enough to cover their expenses. They feel that these checks should continue until the lockdown ends.

I have a hard time believing that number is actually that high, but even if you cut that number in half it would still be astounding.

Have we now reached a point where much of the nation is eager to embrace full-blown socialism?

Apparently so, and that is quite discouraging.

But the “free money” that socialists promise is never actually free.

When the Federal Reserve creates trillions of dollars out of thin air and pumps it into the financial system, that is not “free money”.

And when the federal government borrows and spends trillions of dollars that we do not currently have, that is not “free money”.  In essence, we are stealing that money from future generations of Americans, and what we are doing is beyond criminal.  For much more on that, please see my recent article entitled “Fear Of The Coronavirus Has Absolutely Destroyed America’s Future”.

Whenever a new dollar is introduced into the system, it erodes the value of all dollars that currently exist.  Usually this is a relatively slow process, but now our leaders have gone absolutely nuts and very painful inflation is on the way.

In fact, in some sectors of the economy it is already here

Harold’s Chicken on Broadway in Chicago unleashed a wave of public backlash on social media last weekend after it slapped customers with a COVID-19 surcharge of 26%.

Restaurant manager Jacquelyn Santana told CBS Chicago that food suppliers raised wholesale chicken prices by 26% on Saturday “due to the COVID pandemic.” She said a case of chicken wings that generally cost $60, jumped overnight to $90, forcing the wing shop to pass on the costs.

The cost of living is going to be soaring, and most Americans will not be seeing matching increases in their paychecks.

In fact, more than 36 million American workers no longer have a job at all.

Things are about to get really tough for average American families.  Some are going into more debt in order to get through this crisis, while others are dipping into their retirement savings

MagnifyMoney commissioned a survey of 1,239 Americans who have retirement accounts. Many of the analyses conducted look at responses by the “generation” of the responders. Gen Z is defined as ages 18-23, Millennials are 24-39, Gen X is 40-54, Baby Boomers are 55-74, and the “silent generation” is aged 75+.

The survey shows that 30% of Americans have withdrawn an average of $6,757.20 from their retirement savings from about March 1 through May 1. Another 19% responded that they have not taken money out yet but they plan to do so.

As time goes by, an increasing number of Americans will eventually come to a financial breaking point, and there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on the government “to do something” once again.

And just like we have seen with so many other socialist experiments, the answer will always be more “free money”.

But to see where this ends, just look at Venezuela.  Nearly everyone in the entire country is a “millionaire”, but nearly everyone in the entire country is also living in deep poverty.

Once faith in a currency is destroyed, it is nearly impossible to restore it.

And we are in the process of destroying faith in the reserve currency that the entire world uses.

Unfortunately, our leaders are not listening to people like me.  Instead, they are willing to try just about anything to turn the collapsing U.S. economy around.

At this point, even Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is admitting that this is the worst economic downturn that we have seen “since World War II”

The pair offered a cautious view of the economy, with Mnuchin displaying a more optimistic outlook than Powell, who told the Senate Banking Committee that “the scope and speed of this downturn are without modern precedent and are significantly worse than any recession since World War II.”

Mnuchin noted that he anticipated the economy would recover but said “there is risk of permanent damage” should states wait too long in reopening their economies.

Sadly, things didn’t have to get so bad so soon.

If our leaders had responded rationally to this pandemic, the U.S. economy would still be in relatively decent shape.

But now our economic bubble has burst, and very challenging days are ahead of us.

As our problems mount, a lot of people are going to insist that “free money” is the solution.

Of course it isn’t any sort of a solution at all.  “Free money” is actually economic poison, and the U.S. economy is never going to recover from this.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

68% Of Unemployed Workers In The U.S. “Are Eligible For Payments That Are Greater Than Their Lost Earnings”

Can anyone explain how we are going to motivate unemployed workers to go back to work when most of them can actually make more money camped on their sofas watching Netflix?  Over the past couple of months, 36.5 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits, and Congress understandably wanted to do something to address this unprecedented spike in unemployment.  But by giving all of these unemployed workers a repeating 600 dollar bonus on top of existing unemployment benefits, Congress has actually created a very powerful incentive for Americans to be unemployed and to stay unemployed for as long as the bonuses last.  According to a group of prominent economists at the University of Chicago, 68 percent of those that are currently unemployed can now bring home more money than when they were actually employed…

A new analysis by Peter GanongPascal Noel and Joseph Vavra, economists at the University of Chicago,1 uses government data from 2019 to estimate that 68 percent of unemployed workers who can receive benefits are eligible for payments that are greater than their lost earnings. They also found that the estimated median replacement rate — the share of a worker’s original weekly salary that is being replaced by unemployment benefits — is 134 percent, or more than one-third above their original wage.

Of course you don’t have to be bringing home 100 percent of your former income for there to be an incentive to stay unemployed.

For example, if you had a job that you really hated, you would almost certainly jump at the chance to stay home every day and still make 90 percent of what you formerly earned.

So yes, those that had very high paying jobs will be motivated to get back to work, but everyone else will be highly tempted to ride the gravy train for as long as it lasts.

And the less you made when you were actually working, the more intense that temptation will be.

Just consider what restaurant and hotel workers must be thinking about now.  According to CNBC, the average unemployed worker in that industry is now eligible to collect “182% of their previous wages”…

The average worker in this industry, which employs 14 million people, makes $13.45 an hour — the lowest compared with other industries.

These workers would benefit most under the unemployment system when compared to others — collecting 182% of their previous wages, according to a CNBC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and Labor Department data.

Do you think that those workers are going to be eager to get back to their former jobs?

I don’t think so.

Of course the truth is that many of their jobs are never coming back.  According to the Atlantic, “hundreds of thousands of companies” have already collapsed during this economic downturn…

Small-business activity has plunged nationwide by nearly 50 percentHundreds of thousands of companies have already failed. Big retailers such as J.Crew and Neiman Marcus have filed for bankruptcy, while others, including Macy’s, are teetering. By some measures, scarcely one-third of Americans say they are working. Next month’s jobs report will likely show that, for the first time since World War II, a majority of Americans aren’t officially employed.

So the cold, hard reality of the matter is that there simply is not going to be enough jobs for everyone in the United States for the foreseeable future.

And moving forward, a lot more businesses are going to be failing.

Just recently, Facebook conducted a survey of “86,000 small and medium-sized business owners”, and the results of that survey were quite startling…

About a third of small businesses forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic say they won’t be able to reopen due to an inability to pay bills or rent, a Facebook survery has found.

More than half of the business owners surveyed by Facebook have also said they don’t expect to be able to rehire the same amount of workers that they employed prior to the pandemic.

More specifically, the survey discovered that just 45 percent of all small and medium-sized business owners plan to rehire the same number of employees that they previously had.

So that means that millions upon millions of jobs are gone for good.

And of course the environment of fear that COVID-19 has created is going to paralyze new hiring for a long time to come.  If you are an existing business and you are concerned that you may not be able to keep the employees that you already have, that is going to make you extremely hesitant to add anyone new.

The bottom line is that it is going to be exceedingly difficult to find jobs in the months ahead, and the long-term outlook for the newly unemployed is not good at all.

For the moment, those newly unemployed workers are being taken care of by the federal government, but the $600 bonuses are set to expire in July.

If we get to July and those benefits are not extended, we could have a massive national temper tantrum on our hands.

Of course there are many in Congress that are quite eager to extend those benefits, but that would also mean borrowing and spending billions upon billions more dollars that we do not have.

And what happens when an even bigger crisis than COVID-19 comes along?  We are just experiencing the early winds of “the perfect storm” that I portrayed in “The Beginning Of The End”, and most Americans are completely and utterly unprepared for what is coming.

So let’s not be mad at those that have lost their jobs just because they are getting a windfall for a few months.  Instead, let us hold our national leaders accountable for getting us into this mess in the first place.

For decades, our national leaders have been leading us down a road that leads to national oblivion, and now it appears that we are rapidly approaching the end of that road.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

10 Numbers That Show The U.S. Has Fallen Into A Horrifying Economic Depression

The last recession was really, really bad, but it was never like this.  It is time for us to face reality, and that means admitting that the U.S. economy has plunged into a depression.  This is already the worst economic downturn that America has experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and we are right in the middle of the largest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin.  Of course it was fear of COVID-19 that burst our economic bubble, and fear of this virus is going to be with us for a very long time to come.  So we need to brace ourselves for an extended economic crisis, and at this point even Time Magazine is openly referring to this new downturn as an “economic depression”.  Needless to say, there will be a tremendous amount of debate about how deep it will eventually become, but everyone should be able to agree that our nation hasn’t seen anything like this since before World War II.

In order to prove my point, let me share the following 10 numbers with you…

#1 According to a study that was just released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 100,000 U.S. businesses have already permanently shut down during this pandemic, and that represents millions of jobs that are never coming back.

#2 The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is now projecting that U.S. GDP will shrink by 42.8 percent during the second quarter…

A new GDP forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for the three months through June estimates an unprecedented drop of 42.8 percent. The bank describes the data as a “nowcast” or real-time, compared with the official government report of GDP, which is dated. The first-quarter preliminary data, which showed a 4.8 percent dip, included a limited period of impact from COVID-19.

#3 On Friday we learned that U.S. retail sales were down 16.4 percent during the month of April, and that is a new all-time record.

#4 U.S. factory output was down 13.7 percent last month, and that was the worst number ever recorded for that category.

#5 U.S. industrial production fell 11.2 percent last month, and that represented the worst number in 101 years.

#6 On Thursday, we learned that the number of Americans that have filed initial claims for unemployment benefits during this pandemic has risen by another 2.9 million, and that brings the grand total for this entire crisis to 36.5 million.  To put that number in perspective, at the lowest point of the Great Depression of the 1930s only about 15 million Americans were unemployed.

#7 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the real rate of unemployment in the U.S. is now 30.7 percent.

#8 According to a survey Fed officials just conducted, almost 40 percent of Americans with a household income of less than $40,000 a year say that they have lost a job during this crisis.

#9 One study has concluded that 42 percent of the job losses during this pandemic will end up being permanent.

#10 According to a professor of economics at Columbia University, the U.S. homeless population could rise by up to 45 percent by the end of this calendar year.

We have never seen economic numbers this horrifying, and more awful economic numbers are coming in the months ahead.

At this point, things are so bad that even Fed Chair Jerome Powell is openly admitting that he doesn’t really know how long this new economic downturn will last…

“This economy will recover…We’ll get through this. It may take a while. It may take a period of time. It could stretch through the end of next year,” Powell said during a rare televised interview that aired on “60 Minutes” Sunday night. “We really don’t know. We hope that it will be shorter than that, but no one really knows.”

In the months ahead, there are a few sectors that you will want to keep a particularly close eye on, and one of them is the commercial real estate market.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Fast forward to today, coronavirus outbreak, and the ensuing lockdown, has essentially frozen the commercial real estate market. Buildings that were once used for restaurants, offices, hotels, spas, and or anything else that is classified non-essential have seen soaring vacancies.

This is single handily sending the commercial property market into chaos. As vacancies soar, tremendous downward pressure is being put on almost every asset class tied to commercial real estate.

The latest TREPP remittance data compiled by Morgan Stanley showed a quarter of all commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) could be on the verge of default.

I am personally convinced that we are on the precipice of the greatest commercial real estate implosion in American history.

As the dominoes tumble, it is going to send wave after wave of devastation through the financial industry, and it is going to make the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008 look like child’s play.

But at least bankruptcy lawyers will have plenty of work.  Last week we learned that J.C. Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and of course the bankruptcies that we have seen so far will just be the tip of the iceberg.

I think that politicians all over America are going to deeply regret overreacting to COVID-19, because nobody is going to be able to put the pieces back together now that our economic bubble has burst.

Sadly, very few people understood how shaky our debt-fueled economic “boom” was, and ultimately it didn’t take that much to push us into a new economic depression.

And now every additional crisis that comes along is just going to escalate our economic troubles.  This is going to be one very long nightmare, and there will be no waking up from it any time soon.

Even before COVID-19 came along, homelessness had become a massive problem in many of our major cities, and now tent cities are rapidly multiplying in size.

There is going to be so much economic pain in the months ahead, and it could have all been avoided if we had made much different choices as a nation.

But we didn’t, and so now we all get to pay the price.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

The U.S. Is Caught In An Economic Death Spiral, And One Group Is Being Hit Particularly Hard…

Many have been warning for years that our economic bubble would eventually burst and that a collapse was inevitably coming, but the ferocity of this new economic crisis has caught just about everyone off guard.  And even though some states have been attempting to “reopen” their economies in recent days, the job loss tsunami just continues to roll on.  Prior to this year, the all-time record for the most new unemployment claims in a single week was 695,000.  That record was set all the way back in 1982, and it had survived all the way until 2020.  But now we have been absolutely dwarfing that number week after week.  On Thursday, we learned that another 2.9 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week, and that brings the grand total for this pandemic to more than 36 million

New filings for unemployment claims totaled just shy of 3 million for the most recent reporting period, a number that while still high declined for the sixth straight week, according to Labor Department figures Thursday.

The total 2.981 million new claims for unemployment insurance filed last week brought the coronavirus crisis total to nearly 36.5 million, by far the biggest loss in U.S. history. The count announced last week count was revised up by 7,000 to 3.176 million, putting the weekly decline at 195,000 between the two most recent reports.

To put that in perspective, at the lowest point of the Great Depression only 15 million Americans were unemployed.

Of course our population is quite a bit larger today, and so it isn’t a straightforward comparison.

But what everyone can agree on is the fact that we have never seen a two month spike in unemployment like this in all of U.S. history.

And according to the Federal Reserve, low income workers are getting hit harder than anyone else…

The Federal Reserve Bank on Thursday reported just how unequally the coronavirus-induced economic downturn is hitting Americans.

On one hand, lower-income people are getting slammed. Nearly 40% of those with a household income below $40,000 reported a job loss in March, according to the Economic Well-Being of US Households report.

Sadly, this is what seems to happen every time that there is an economic downturn.

The powerless people on the bottom of the food chain get hurt the most, but the fat cats with political influence are able to get the big bailouts.

Millions of newly unemployed low income workers used to be employed by the restaurant industry, but that industry has been absolutely decimated by this crisis…

The National Restaurant Association says some $30 billion was lost by its members in March, and $50 billion in April.

In the last week alone, several restaurants have announced that they won’t re-open, including the buffet chain Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, Jen’s Grill in Chicago and Ristorant Franchino, which has been serving patrons in the San Francisco area for over 32 years.

Of course most restaurant closings will never even make the news because they are small independent operations without corporate backing.

In the days ahead, we are going to see a “restaurant apocalypse” like we have never seen before in American history.  If you can believe it, one industry expert just told Bloomberg that about one-fourth of all U.S. restaurants will be closing down permanently…

Your favorite restaurant, now closed or only accepting take out orders due to the coronavirus, may never reopen, according to a top exec with reservation service OpenTable.

Steve Hafner, CEO of Booking Holdings’ OpenTable and travel site Kayak, told Bloomberg that one out of every four restaurants won’t come back.

This is truly a great tragedy, and it is going to be so depressing to see so many buildings sitting empty in communities all across the nation.

And things will be much, much different for the restaurants that are able to stay open.  For example, just check out the changes that are happening at McDonald’s

When McDonald’s restaurants reopen their dining rooms, customers should expect stickers on the floor encouraging social distancing and the closure of self-serve beverage bars. Workers wearing masks might check in with a thumbs up, or kindly ask you to move away from others.

If that is what a trip to McDonald’s is going to be like, I don’t think that I will be visiting one for a long time to come.

What we really need is for the country to try to return to normal, but in some of the more liberal areas of the U.S. that is not going to happen for the foreseeable future.

So the U.S. economy will continue to be caught in this death spiral, and Fed Chair Jay Powell is warning that we could soon see a “wave of bankruptcies” from coast to coast…

Federal Reserve Chief Jay Powell warned Wednesday of a potential “wave of bankruptcies” that could cause lasting harm to the world’s largest economy, and said more fiscal support may be needed to prevent the devastation, despite the massive cost.

Powell, who has launched a host of key programs to support credit markets and provide funds directly to companies, said there are limits to how far the Fed can go.

In particular, keep a close eye on the commercial real estate industry.

In order to service their loans, owners of commercial property need to successfully collect rent from their tenants, and right now many of those tenants are not able to pay.

For example, just look at the numbers that one New York City commercial landlord is reporting

A major New York City commercial landlord collected just 73 percent of its April office rent from tenants, with an increasing number defaulting on payments amid growing uncertainty over whether corporate buildings will become a thing of the past.

Empire State Realty Trust, owner of the Empire State Building, collected only 73 percent of its office rents and 46 percent of its retail rents due in April.

Unless there is some sort of a bailout, we are going to see commercial real estate carnage on a scale that is far greater than anything we have ever seen before.

Of course just about every industry needs a bailout at this point, and not everyone is going to get one.

Fear of COVID-19 did not create the conditions for this new economic crisis, but it did finally burst the debt-fueled economic bubble that was keeping conditions relatively stable the past few years.

Now that our economy has begun to spiral out of control, nobody is going to be able to put the pieces back together again, and the truth is that this is just the very beginning of our problems.

So many of the things that I have been warning about are starting to happen, and without a doubt our economy will continue to fall apart in the months ahead, but that does not mean that your life is over.

Yes, the days ahead will be exceedingly challenging, but heroes are born when things are at their darkest.

God has a plan for you, and I encourage you to be open to that no matter how radical that plan may turn out to be.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

Why Does The Mainstream Media Seem So Desperate To Keep The Coronavirus Lockdowns Going?

Something doesn’t smell right.  The number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. each day has been declining, as has the number of deaths.  This is great news, and we should be hoping that the falling numbers are a sign that the pandemic is beginning to subside.  But the mainstream media has been relentlessly pumping out stories that warn of “disaster” if the lockdowns are lifted “too soon”.  According to the mainstream media, by “ignoring science” we are inviting a “second wave” which will be even deadlier than the first one.  And it is certainly true that as we end the lockdowns more people will get exposed to COVID-19, but right now I do not know of a single hospital in the entire country that is currently being overwhelmed by this pandemic.  As long as our hospitals can handle it, there is no reason to continue the lockdowns.

But the mainstream media seems desperate to keep the lockdowns going, and so they keep telling us that we are “inviting disaster” by ending them.  For example, the following comes from a New York Times article that was just published entitled “As States Rush to Reopen, Scientists Fear a Coronavirus Comeback”

Millions of working people and small-business owners who cannot earn money while sheltering at home are facing economic ruin. So dozens of states, seeking to ease the pain, are coming out of lockdown.

Most have not met even minimal criteria for doing so safely, and some are reopening even as coronavirus cases rise, inviting disaster. The much-feared “second wave” of infection may not wait until fall, many scientists say, and instead may become a storm of wavelets breaking unpredictably across the country.

And this is how that article ended

Having 50 states and more territories do competing and uncoordinated experiments in reopening is “daring Mother Nature to kill you or someone you love,” Dr. Frieden said. “Mother Nature bats last, and she bats a thousand.”

That sounds quite ominous.

Without a doubt, most Americans certainly do not want to see a loved one die after catching COVID-19.

But of course the truth is that a lot more people are going to get sick and a lot more people are going to die whether we have the lockdowns or not.  The lockdowns can help to “flatten the curve”, but they won’t alter the final numbers from this pandemic by that much.

Initially, we were told that the goal of the lockdowns was to keep our healthcare systems from being overwhelmed, and we should stick to that.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media just won’t turn the hype machine off, and they seem willing to twist facts if that is what is necessary.

Just look at what NBC News is reporting.  According to an article that they just posted, “infection rates are spiking to new highs” in many areas of the nation…

Coronavirus infection rates are spiking to new highs in several metropolitan areas and smaller communities across the country, according to undisclosed data the White House’s pandemic task force is using to track rates of infection, which was obtained by NBC News.

The data contained in a May 7 coronavirus task force report are at odds with the president’s declaration Monday, May 11, 2020, that “all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly.”

No, infection rates are not spiking.  Just go to worldometers.info and check for yourself.

Yes, the numbers are still high, but they are a lot lower than they were.  So it appears that President Trump is correct in this case and NBC News is wrong.

So why is the mainstream media doing this?

Could it be possible that they are trying to hurt President Trump politically?  Without a doubt, Trump’s poll numbers have suffered during the lockdowns, and if the U.S. economy does not bounce back by November it is certainly going to be tough for him to win.

And at this point the mainstream media is not even trying to hide how much they hate Trump.  For many of them, getting rid of Trump is priority number one, and they will exploit any angle that they can to try to make that happen.

But political considerations should not be governing how we approach this crisis.

Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize that if we would have just used basic common sense that we would have never needed lockdowns in the first place.

According to a new study that was just released, none of the lockdowns would have been necessary if at least 80 percent of Americans were willing to wear masks

For nearly three months, we’ve been urging people to wear masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, a new study and online simulation tool shows that America could end the lockdowns and beat the coronavirus in a matter of weeks if just 80% of people wore masks in public.

Yes, it’s that simple: Wear a mask and you beat the virus.

Of course at the beginning of this crisis the CDC specifically instructed the American people not to wear masks, and it took them weeks to finally reverse course.

But other nations that used basic common sense have fared so much better than us.  The following comes from Vanity Fair

The day before yesterday, 21 people died of COVID-19 in Japan. In the United States, 2,129 died. Comparing overall death rates for the two countries offers an even starker point of comparison with total U.S. deaths now at a staggering 76,032 and Japan’s fatalities at 577. Japan’s population is about 38% of the U.S., but even adjusting for population, the Japanese death rate is a mere 2% of America’s.

This comes despite Japan having no lockdown, still-active subways, and many businesses that have remained open—reportedly including karaoke bars, although Japanese citizens and industries are practicing social distancing where they can. Nor have the Japanese broadly embraced contact tracing, a practice by which health authorities identify someone who has been infected and then attempt to identify everyone that person might have interacted with—and potentially infected. So how does Japan do it?

It is actually very simple how the Japanese were able to accomplish this.

Virtually everyone in the entire country is wearing a mask when they go out in public.

Yes, it is just that simple.

In addition, a number of studies have found that mortality rates are much, much lower for those that have a sufficient level of Vitamin D in their systems.  Natural News just posted an article about one of these studies…

It was when the researchers closely looked at data from patients hailing from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, namely Italy, Spain and the UK, that they observed a common denominator: they had generally lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients from countries that had significantly lower mortality rates.

In addition, after further examination of the patients’ data, the researchers found a link between low vitamin D levels and “cytokine storms,” a hyper-inflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system.

Ultimately, we could have avoided so much pain and suffering if everyone had just been willing to wear masks and if everyone had been taking plenty of Vitamin D.

But instead of focusing on these basic common sense solutions, the mainstream media continues to push the fear button, and now Congress is considering a bill which would spend 100 billion dollars “to create an army of contact tracers”

Illinois Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush has introduced the H.R. 6666 TRACE Act, which includes a $100 billion grant program which would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create an army of contact tracers operating through healthcare, schools and nonprofit entities, who would perform COVID-19 diagnostic testing “through mobile health units and, as necessary, at individuals’ residences, and for other purposes.”

Things like this make you want to tear your hair out.

We don’t need an army of “contract tracers”.

All we need is a little bit of common sense.

Sadly, those in positions of power always seem quite eager to take advantage of any crisis that comes along.

We have seen so many examples of tyranny during this pandemic, and this has especially been true in California.  The following comes from an article by Ron Paul

A Fresno, California waffle restaurant dared to open its doors for business this weekend to the delight of a long line of customers, who waited up to two hours for the “privilege” of willingly spending their money in a business happy to serve them breakfast on Mother’s Day. This freedom of voluntary transaction is the core of what we used to call our free society. But in an America paralyzed by fear – ramped up by a mainstream media that churns out propaganda at a level unparalleled in history – no one is allowed to enjoy themselves.

Thankfully everyone carries a smartphone these days and can record and upload the frequent violations of our Constitutional liberties. In the case of the waffle restaurant, thanks to a cell phone video we saw the police show up in force and try to push through the crowd waiting outside. An elderly man who was next in line to enter was indignant, complaining that he had been waiting two hours to eat at the restaurant and was not about to step aside while the police shut down the place. The police proceeded to violently handcuff and arrest the man, dragging him off while his wife followed sadly behind him to the police car.

We cannot allow them to use this crisis to take away our essential freedoms and liberties.

Yes, more people are going to get sick and more people are going to die before this pandemic is over.

But if we allow our freedoms and liberties to be stripped away in the process, we may find that it will be exceedingly difficult to ever get them back.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media is likely to continue to needlessly exaggerate the threat of COVID-19 for the foreseeable future, and that will almost certainly result in more bad decisions from our policy makers.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

Economic Catastrophe: Millions Upon Millions Of Jobs That Have Been Lost Are Never Coming Back

Do you personally know people that have lost jobs in 2020?  I do, and I am not sure what to tell them.  As is the case all over the U.S. right now, there is hope that some of the jobs will still be there when the lockdowns end, but in other cases it looks like the jobs are gone for good.  And since virtually nobody is hiring right now, finding new jobs is certainly not going to be easy, and there will be millions of others competing for the few jobs that open up.  Of course there will be some that will decide that being a government “contact tracer” is better than not being able to pay the bills, and the mainstream media is aggressively promoting those jobs right now.  But what most unemployed workers really want is to go back to their old jobs, but unfortunately many of them will never be able to do so.

According to a new study that was just released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a whopping 42 percent of the jobs that have been lost during this crisis are likely to have been lost permanently…

Many of the coronavirus pandemic layoffs will become permanent job losses, according to a new study with alarming implications for the future of the economy.

Forty-two percent of workers experiencing recent layoffs will suffer permanent job losses, according to a paper circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Wow.

So let’s take a moment and do a little math.

Over the past 7 weeks, 33.5 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits.

42 percent of 33.5 million is just over 14 million, and that represents almost 10 percent of all the jobs in the entire economy before this pandemic began.

Of course more Americans continue to lose jobs with each passing week.

For example, last week thousands of Uber employees were abruptly terminated during a three minute Zoom call

Thousands of Uber employees learned that they were being laid off in a three-minute Zoom call last week.

The ride-sharing company informed 3,500 people who worked in customer service and recruitment around the country that it would be their last day working for Uber on the live call.

Could you imagine being one of those employees?

There is no loyalty in corporate America today.  When the time comes, they will ruthlessly cut ties with even their most hard working employees without even a moment of hesitation.

Uber’s Ruffin Chaveleau was given the task of letting these workers go, and there was no mincing of words

Chevaleau told staff: ‘Our rides business is down by more than half. There is not enough work for many frontline customer support employees. [As a result] we are eliminating 3,500 frontline customer support roles.

‘Your role is impacted and today will be your last working day with Uber. You will remain on payroll until the date noted in your severance package.’

Do you think those jobs are coming back?

Of course not.

They are gone for good, and the company as a whole is going to have a very tough time surviving in this new economic environment.

The economic carnage that we are witnessing is truly unprecedented, and some parts of the country are being hit harder than others.  I have some good friends in Hawaii, and needless to say this pandemic has caused tourism to Hawaii to absolutely implode.

As the tourist industry has collapsed, the unemployment rate in the state has gone from 3 percent to 34 percent

Unemployment in Hawaii has skyrocketed from three percent to 34 percent as tourism vanishes from the island – and it could get worse as lockdown measures to protect against coronavirus continue.

Since March the number of people flying into Hawaii has fallen dramatically from 30,000-a-day to just 756.

Eventually some of those jobs may start coming back as the pandemic fades.

But then again, they might not.

And just about everyone agrees that the U.S. economy is going to continue to bleed jobs.

In fact, at this point even U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is admitting that the numbers “are probably going to get worse”

The staggering U.S. unemployment rate reported by the government on Friday amid coronavirus lockdowns may get even worse, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.

“The reported numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better,” Mnuchin told the Fox News Sunday program.

The good news is that millions of workers that have been temporarily laid off should start going back to work in the months ahead as the lockdowns are ended.

But the bad news is that there are millions of newly unemployed workers that have lost their jobs permanently and won’t be able to get new ones.

As a result, the ranks of the poor will greatly surge, and many more people will end up in the streets.

Already, it is being reported that the number of homeless tents in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District has grown by 300 percent…

The streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District have experienced a 300 percent increase in the number of homeless tents since the coronavirus outbreak began, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the community and a law school.

Residents, businesses and the University of California Hastings College of Law are suing to demand the city clean up drug needles and human waste which have littered the streets.

I have written about homelessness a lot over the years, and before this pandemic started there were more than half a million Americans that were homeless.

As this new economic depression drags on, that number is likely to multiply.

The economic crisis that I have been warning about is now here, and the American people are going to be looking to our politicians to “fix things”.

But as Egon von Greyerz has noted, there isn’t going to be any solution to this crisis…

This is what is so sad with the current economic crisis – there is no solution. Nobody should believe that it is the Coronavirus that has caused this catastrophe for the world. CV was the catalyst but the underlying problems have been there for a long time. The Great Financial Crisis in 2006-9 was temporarily patched up with trillions of dollars of money printing but it was never solved. The Great Financial Crisis was only a rehearsal and now the world is facing the inevitable collapse of the financial system.

As usual, he is right on target.

All of the economic dominoes are starting to tumble, and fear of this virus is going to be with us for a very long time to come.

Those that are still hoping for a “V-shaped recovery”, a “U-shaped recovery” or any sort of a major recovery at all are going to be deeply disappointed.

The beginning of the end has arrived for the U.S. economy, and we are all going to be absolutely horrified by the things that take place in the months ahead.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

It Is Much Worse Than You Are Being Told

For a long time I warned that our economic bubble would burst and that we would plunge into a nightmarish economic collapse.  Now it has happened, and it turns out that fear of COVID-19 was the “black swan event” that triggered the collapse.  The ironic thing is that COVID-19 is not even close to the worst thing that is going to happen to us.  But it was more than enough to topple our incredibly fragile economic system, and now tens of millions of Americans are deeply suffering.  On Friday, the April jobs report was released, and it was the worst jobs report in U.S. history by a very, very wide margin.  According to the official numbers, 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs during the month, and the unemployment rate shot up to 14.7 percent.  During the last recession, the unemployment rate peaked at about 10 percent, and we have already left that number in the dust.  The figures that we are seeing now are truly, truly horrifying, and what is even more frightening is that they aren’t even that accurate.

But don’t take my word for it.

On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department publicly admitted that the true unemployment rate in April was closer to 20 percent

Millions of U.S. residents were counted as employed in April despite having no job, suggesting April’s true unemployment rate was closer to 20%, much higher than the official 14.7% reported, the Labor Department said Friday.

The jobless rate should have included people on temporary unpaid leave, furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the government said.

I applaud the Labor Department for trying to be honest.  In the report, they openly admitted that an “additional 7.5 million workers” should have been classified as unemployed

But responses to the survey by which the data was collected show 11.5 million people were categorized as employed but absent from work because of vacation, parental leave or other reasons, but including 8.1 million absent for “unspecified” reasons, a group that usually numbers about 620,000.

“One assumption might be that these additional 7.5 million workers …should have been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff,” a note attached to the government’s jobs report Friday said.

If those workers had been correctly classified, the official unemployment rate would have been about 19.5 percent, and that would have put us solidly in Great Depression territory.

But others have looked at the numbers and calculated that the true rate of unemployment should be even higher than that.

For example, Standard Chartered has calculated that the true rate of unemployment could be as high as 27.5 percent

While it is true that what the BLS reported that the April unemployment rate (UR) was less than expected (14.7% versus consensus of 16.0%) and the drop in payroll employment of 20.5 million was also less than the 22.0 million expected, Standard Chartered bank has calculated that adjustments to the headline unemployment rate push the effective number of unemployed to 42 million and the effective UR rate to 25.5%, higher even than the U-6 underemployment rate of 22.8%. Worse, if one treats underemployed in line with the U-6 methodology, the true April unemployment number would rise to an mindblowing 27.5%.

So how did Standard Chartered arrive at those numbers?  The following is how Zero Hedge explained it…

How does one get these numbers? As the bank’s chief FX strategist Steve Englander explains, start with the 23.1 million unemployed as published by BLS. To this add 8.1mn people who have dropped out of the labor force since February (previously the labor force had been growing steadily, so these are likely unemployed).

Add back 7.5MM workers classified as ‘employed but not at work for other reasons’ – BLS states that these workers are likely misclassified as employed, when they are in fact unemployed. Involuntary part-time work for economic reasons has gone up by 6.6MM and we treat these as half-unemployed (i.e., a contribution of 3.3MM).

This totals almost 42 Million effectively unemployed.

And Standard Chartered is not the only one that has come up with such a high figure.

In fact, John Williams of shadowstats.com says that if honest numbers were being used that the U.S. unemployment rate would now be an eye-popping 35.4 percent.

Wow.

Of course everyone admits that things are really, really bad and that the numbers for next month are likely to be even worse.

If you can believe it, even White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett is admitting that the official unemployment rate is likely to surge above 20 percent in “May or June”

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett believes the unemployment rate could rise above 20% and the worst job losses would come in “May or June” because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

When asked Sunday what the “bottom” of the country’s unemployment pain would be, Hassett, who advises the Trump administration on economic policy and is the former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “to get unemployment rates like the ones that we’re about to see … which I think will climb up toward 20% by next month, you have to really go back to the Great Depression to see that.”

And even once this pandemic fades, many of those jobs won’t be coming back.

Initially, many employers had anticipated that they would be bringing all of their employees back following a short, severe crisis.  But at this point reality is beginning to set in for many of them.

For example, a restaurant owner in Kentucky named Britney Ruby Miller has had to lower her expectations as this pandemic has dragged on…

In late March, Britney Ruby Miller, co-owner of a small chain of steakhouse restaurants, confidently proclaimed that once the viral outbreak had subsided, her company planned to recall all its laid-off workers.

Now? Miller would be thrilled to restore, by year’s end, three-quarters of the roughly 600 workers her company had to let go.

Yes, the state of Kentucky is starting to “reopen for business”, but for now her restaurants will “be limited to 33% of capacity” and there will be all sorts of other new expenses that Miller will be forced to deal with…

Yet business won’t be returning to what it was before. In Kentucky, the restaurants will be limited to 33% of capacity. They are putting six feet between tables in all their restaurants, thereby limiting seating. Miller estimates that the company’s revenue will plunge by half to three-quarters this year.

And expenses are rising because the company must buy face masks and other equipment for the workers it does recall and restock its food, drink, and equipment supplies.

There are very, very few restaurants that can be profitable under such circumstances.

Unless the state of Kentucky lifts those ridiculous restrictions, Miller may soon lose all of her restaurants and all of her employees may soon be permanently out of jobs.

Of course more layoff announcements just keep rolling in from all over America with each passing day.  The following examples come from the Wall Street Journal

This past week, General Electric Co., Uber Technologies Inc. UBER 6.01% and Airbnb Inc. said they would lay off thousands of workers. MGM Resorts International MGM 4.42% warned that some of the 63,000 employees it has furloughed may be let go permanently starting in August. Aerospace supplier Raytheon Technologies Corp., RTX 2.91%  job-listings site Glassdoor and United Airlines Holdings Inc. UAL 11.74% also said in the past week that they had reduced jobs or planned to do so.

This is what an economic depression looks like, and it is going to be so incredibly painful.

And it is critical to understand that what we have experienced so far is just a warm-up act for the next chapters.

If you remember how bitter the last recession was, that should motivate you to take action to prepare for what is ahead, because this economic downturn is already even worse.

Yes, the months in front of us will be exceptionally challenging, but you can get through this.  Things may look really bleak, but for now you just need to keep hanging in there.

There will be life on the other side, but your future may end up looking far different than you originally anticipated.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

We Are Witnessing Economic Carnage Like We Have Never Seen Before, And The Economy Is Going To Continue To Bleed Jobs

Now we are up to 33.5 million jobs lost.  In just 7 weeks, the U.S. economy has been completely turned upside down, and the numbers are unlike anything that we have ever seen before.  On Thursday, the Labor Department announced that 3.17 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week.  That brings the grand total for this crisis up to 33.5 million, and that figure absolutely dwarfs what we witnessed during the last recession.  And as I discussed yesterday, even the mainstream media is now admitting that millions of those jobs are never coming back.

Yes, some Americans will be going back to work now that the lockdowns are being ended, but for now it is being projected that the job losses will continue to surpass any gains that are made by workers that are returning to their old jobs.

In fact, one prominent economist told CNBC that it will likely take until mid-June before the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits each week falls below a million…

At the current pace, the week claims numbers should fall below 1 million by mid-June, according to Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “We’re very hopeful that June will see the beginnings of a rebound as states begin to reopen,” Shepherdson said.

To put that in perspective, prior to this year the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000.

So even when we get down to a million new claims each week, that will still be a catastrophic level.

And the truth is that these numbers don’t even tell the entire story.  Because state unemployment websites have been so overwhelmed, there are vast numbers of unemployed Americans that still have not been able to successfully file claims.

One of those unemployed Americans is Florida resident Roselande Guerrier

Roselande Guerrier lies in bed each night, waiting for her cellphone to display 7:30 a.m. – when the Florida unemployment office opens – and calls, aching for answers, searching for help.

“All night, my eyes are open,” she said. “Five o’clock, my eyes are open. I call at 6 o’clock and the office is closed. I call at 7:30 and boom, ‘All lines are busy.’ Every number they give me, I try, but they’re always busy.

She has been trying day after day, and she still hasn’t been successful.

So for now she doesn’t have a single penny coming in, and she has three hungry kids to feed

Guerrier, 36, has spent 13 years changing sheets, picking up dirty towels and scrubbing bathrooms as a housekeeper at the Fontainebleau hotel, the iconic Miami Beach resort. At night, she would do the same at the Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, an art deco resort a few blocks away.

Both those jobs vanished on March 23 when the hotels were forced to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With three children to care for, she hasn’t seen a nickel of unemployment benefits or federal relief money.

Could you imagine being in her situation?

When you have little ones depending on you, it can be absolutely soul crushing to have nothing to provide.

Sadly, the job losses just continue to roll on.  This week, several more big companies have publicly announced layoffs

The layoff announcements by larger companies continue on a daily basis. Yesterday, Uber announced that it would lay off 3,700 people; Haliburton announced that it would lay off 1,000 people at its corporate headquarters, after having already laid of thousands of people elsewhere; the Natural History Museum in New York City announced it would lay off 450 people; etc. etc. It’s a loud and terrible drumbeat. Thousands of smaller companies are laying off people without media attention.

If you were assuming that the U.S. economy would just bounce back to where it was before, you can forget about that right now.

In fact, Bob Michele told Bloomberg that it may be more than a decade before U.S. employment returns to the levels that we saw prior to this pandemic…

J.P. Morgan Chief Investment Officer Bob Michele predicted it will take 10-12 years after the pandemic for U.S. employment to get back to its pre-coronavirus level, insisting it won’t be as simple as turning the economy back on.

“No, it’s not that simple … it’s going to take years, or longer to get back to where we are, or where we were,” Michele said on Bloomberg when asked if reopening would be as simple as “turning on the lights.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what an economic depression looks like, and it is going to be with us for the foreseeable future.

Of course Congress certainly didn’t help matters when they created a big, fat juicy incentive for people to stay unemployed.  As Zero Hedge reminds us, millions of unemployed workers are now bringing home a lot more money than when they were actually working…

Worse still, the final numbers will likely be hurt even more due to the bailout itself: as a reminder, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed on March 27, could contribute to new records being reached in coming weeks as it increases eligibility for jobless claims to self-employed and gig workers, extends the maximum number of weeks that one can receive benefits, and provides an additional $600 per week until July 31. A recent WSJ article noted that this has created incentives for some businesses to temporarily furlough their employees, knowing that they will be covered financially as the economy is shutdown. Meanwhile, those making below $50k will generally be made whole and possibly be better off on unemployment benefits.

I certainly don’t understand why Congress would do such a thing.

If only we had elected at least a few people that could have brought some common sense to that institution…

Getting back to the economy, we continue to get more evidence that we are in the midst of a complete and utter economic implosion with each passing day.

For example, we just learned that orders for Class 8 trucks in April were down a whopping 73 percent compared to a year ago…

The misery in Class 8 heavy duty truck orders continues. Still struggling with the remnants of an order backlog that started almost two years ago with record orders in August 2018, the industry was unable to find an equilibrium prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Orders were sluggish and we noted numerous trucking companies that closed up shop altogether in 2019.

Post-pandemic, things look even more helpless. In April, the industry posted its worst order number on record as the economy ground to a halt as a result of the nationwide lockdown. Only 4,000 Class 8 orders were made last month, which is down 73% year over year and 44% from March.

Virtually every corner of the economy is dramatically slowing down, and that is going to force more layoffs in the months ahead.

As I discussed yesterday, one survey just found that 52 percent of all small business owners expect to be out of business in the next six months.  Traditionally, small businesses are the primary engine of job growth in this country, but now they are going to be failing at an unprecedented rate.

One of those small businesses that is in the process of failing belongs to wedding invitation designer Emily Rose Asher

Wedding plans nationwide have been shot to hell in this age of social distancing. But Chicago-based calligrapher and wedding invitation designer Emily Rose Asher still has some work creating “save the NEW date” cards that couples are now sending to guests when they decide to reschedule their big event.

Still, Asher said, whereas she used to earn thousands of dollars during wedding season, she’s now earning hundreds. And the fact that she still has any income at all likely will disqualify her for unemployment benefits. But she did apply for a PPP loan at the end of April after trying to sort through conflicting guidance from two accountants about her eligibility.

I have such respect for people that create a business out of nothing and slowly nurture it into a success.

But now fear of COVID-19 threatens to kill millions of such businesses.

In other words, millions of hard working Americans are about to see their dreams go up in smoke right in front of their eyes.

It is a tragedy of almost unimaginable proportions, and I wish that it wasn’t happening.

But it is happening, and what is truly sad is that all of this could have been avoided if we had made much different choices.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

The Number Of Jobs Lost In April Was More Than Double The Total Number Of Jobs Lost During The Last Recession

Yes, you read that headline correctly.  The economic downturn of 2008 and 2009 is often referred to as “the Great Recession” because the U.S. had not experienced economic pain of that magnitude since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Millions of Americans lost their jobs, mortgage defaults soared and Wall Street was shaken to the core.  But as bad as things were during the last recession, things are even worse now.  To say that what we are witnessing is “unprecedented” doesn’t do it justice, because what is happening to the U.S. economy in 2020 is truly, truly horrifying, and many believe that what we have experienced so far is just the beginning.

ADP has been tracking private payrolls in the United States for many, many years, and each month their payroll report is watched very carefully by economists.

Prior to this year, the worst month in the history of the ADP report was in February 2009 when 834,665 jobs were shed from U.S. private payrolls.  Needless to say, that old record just got completely shattered

Private payrolls hemorrhaged more than 20 million jobs in April as companies sliced workers amid a coronavirus-induced shutdown that took most of the U.S. economy offline, according to a report Wednesday from ADP.

In all, the decline totaled 20,236,000 — easily the worst loss in the survey’s history going back to 2002 but not as bad as the 22 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting. The previous record was 834,665 in February 2009 amid the financial crisis and accompanying Great Recession.

So what this means is that the number of private payroll jobs lost in the United States last month was more than 24 times greater than the previous all-time record.

In fact, the number of private payroll jobs lost last month was more than double the total number of jobs lost during the last recession

“Job losses of this scale are unprecedented,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute, which compiles the report in conjunction with Moody’s Analytics. “The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession.”

We have never seen an unemployment spike like this ever before, and we may never see a spike quite like it ever again.

Of course there are some people out there that have been quick to remind me that many of these job losses are “temporary” and that millions of Americans will soon be going back to work.

Yes, as states begin to end their lockdowns the U.S. economy will regain millions of the jobs that have been lost.

But there are also millions of jobs that we aren’t ever going to get back.  The following comes from a Bloomberg article entitled “Layoffs Start Turning From Temporary to Permanent Across America”

Plenty of layoffs that just a month ago were labeled “temporary” are now tagged “indefinite” or “permanent.” Alongside announcements of sweeping staff cuts by major employers such as Boeing Co. and U.S. Steel Corp. and the accelerating pace of downsizing in brick-and-mortar retailing, such notices are a sign that even as businesses continue to hope for a speedy recovery, they are starting to plan for a slow one.

I personally know quite a few people that have permanently lost their jobs, and you probably do too.

This week, we learned that Lord & Taylor plans to start the process of liquidating, and all of their employees will soon be out on the street on a permanent basis

Venerable U.S. retailer Lord & Taylor plans to liquidate inventory in its 38 department stores once restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus are lifted as it braces for a bankruptcy process from which it does not expect to emerge, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Lord & Taylor’s preparations to liquidate its inventory as soon as its stores reopen offer a window into the grim future of a high-profile retailer – a storied department store chain founded in 1826 and billed as the oldest in the United States – that does not expect to survive the pandemic’s economic fallout.

But much, much, much more importantly, we are about to see a wave of small business failures in the United States that will absolutely dwarf anything that we have ever seen before in our history.

Governors all across America can end the lockdowns, but they can’t order people to go out and spend money.  For many months to come, fear of COVID-19 is going to prevent millions of consumers from resuming their normal economic patterns, and so small businesses all over the country will be facing greatly reduced revenues for the foreseeable future.

Needless to say, many of them aren’t going to make it and those that fail are going to have to let all of their workers go.  In an article that I just posted, I discussed a stunning new survey that discovered that 52 percent of all small business owners in the United States “expect to be out of business within six months”.

We are talking about millions of businesses that may soon be saying goodbye to all of their employees for good.

Giant corporations have the resources to make it through an extended downturn, but most small businesses do not.  It is hard enough to try to run a profitable small business even when conditions are ideal, but now this pandemic has made that task nearly impossible in many cases.

So yes, the U.S. economy will recover some of the jobs that were lost during the lockdowns, but we will also continue to bleed more jobs in the months ahead.

I know that a lot of my readers are quite eager for a return to “normal”, but we have to realize that the “old normal” is gone.

Instead, a “new normal” is starting to emerge, and on Tuesday California Governor Gavin Newsom warned that we won’t fully get there “until we get to immunity and a vaccine”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said as many counties around the state prepare to reopen retail for curbside pickup Friday, maintaining physical-distancing measures will be crucial to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread.

“We’re not going back to normal,” said Newsom, who gave Tuesday’s press briefing from the site of a Sacramento business called Display California. “It’s a new normal with adaptations and modifications, until we get to immunity and a vaccine.”

Unfortunately, it is exceedingly unlikely that we will reach “herd immunity” in the United States before 2021, and the quest for a “vaccine” is not going to be easy.

If you doubt this, just do some research and find out how many other successful coronavirus vaccines there have been in our history.

When they tell you that an easy solution is right around the corner, they aren’t being honest with you.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is literally imploding all around us, and this is just the start of our troubles.

The good news is that COVID-19 is not as deadly as many were originally projecting.  Instead of millions dead, the final death toll in the U.S. will probably only be in the hundreds of thousands.

As this pandemic eventually begins to subside, use it as an opportunity to get prepared for what is coming next, because COVID-19 is definitely not the worst thing we are going to face.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

18 Signs That We Are Facing A Record Breaking Economic Implosion In 2020

In just six weeks, the entire global economy has completely come apart.  All over the world we are seeing numbers fall faster than we ever have before, and the outlook for the rest of the year is exceedingly bleak.  Fear of the coronavirus is going to paralyze global trade for the foreseeable future, and the lockdowns in some nations will last for many months to come.  Here in the United States, some states are attempting to make an effort to “reopen”, but in most instances that will involve “multiple stages”.  Meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans have already lost their jobs, much of the population has already run through their meager savings, and financial institutions are becoming extremely tight with their money.  Even if COVID-19 disappeared tomorrow, our momentum would still take us into an economic depression, but of course this virus isn’t going to disappear any time soon.  After 9/11 our society evolved into an anti-terror state, and COVID-19 is going to permanently alter our society as well.  So anyone that was hoping for a quick “return to normal” can forget it, because “normal” is about to be completely redefined.

The pace at which economic conditions have deteriorated in recent weeks has been absolutely breathtaking, and the numbers just keep getting worse and worse.

The following are 18 signs that we are facing a record breaking economic implosion in 2020…

#1 According to economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal, the April jobs report will show that the unemployment rate in the United States is now above 16 percent.

#2 U.S. manufacturing orders just crashed by the most ever.

#3 U.S. gasoline consumption just dropped to the lowest level ever recorded.

#4 Light vehicle sales in the U.S. just fell to the lowest level that we have seen since the early 1970s.

#5 The government program that was supposed to get small businesses through this crisis has been a tremendous failure

According to the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey released Monday, which surveyed 2,200 small business owners across America, while the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program was instituted to give them a lifeline through the coronavirus and economic shutdown, only 13% of the 45% who applied for the PPP were approved.

#6 The “coming meat shortages” are already here.  According to the New York Post, Costco is now rationing meat and Kroger is warning customers of very serious supply problems…

Costco on Monday said it will be limiting customers to just three packages of meat per shopper, while Kroger supermarkets posted an alert on the meat section of its website warning that it may have limited inventory “due to high demand.”

Grocers have been bracing for a run on meat in mid-May as major meat processing plants, including Tyson Foods, have been forced to shut down production. But the shortages appear to have come earlier than expected as consumers worried about the meat shortage have been stocking up, experts say.

#7 Global smartphone shipments were down 11.7 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago.  That represents the fastest drop on record.

#8 Hong Kong just recorded the worst economic contraction in the city’s entire history.

#9 U.S. consumer spending was down 7.6 percent during the first quarter of 2020.

#10 American Airlines posted a loss of 2.2 billion dollars during the first quarter of 2020.

#11 It looks like retail giants Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and JC Penney are all headed for bankruptcy.

#12 Fox Business is reporting that Hertz is preparing to file for bankruptcy due to plunging car rental ridership.

#13 Gold’s Gym field for bankruptcy on Monday.

#14 Edmunds is projecting that auto sales in the United States this month will be down by more than half compared to April 2019.

#15 In Mexico, manufacturing activity is falling at the fastest pace ever recorded.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

While few have lofty expectations for economic performance with the global economy still largely shutdown, what is happening in Mexico is simply unprecedented. Here are some striking observations detailing the unprecedented economic collapse of the southern US neighbor, courtesy of Goldman.

Business confidence declined sharply in April (the seventh consecutive monthly decline) with the index now sitting deep within pessimist territory. The Manufacturing and Services PMIs also fell sharply in April, and are now at the lowest levels on record.

#16 More than 30 million Americans have already lost their jobs, and economists are projecting that millions more will lose their jobs in the weeks ahead.

#17 In March, U.S. home sales declined by double digit percentages in every region of the country.

#18 White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett is warning that U.S. GDP could fall by up to 30 percent during the second quarter of 2020.

For investors, the good news is that stock prices have bounced back quite a bit after the initial crash, and many market optimists are hoping that this Fed-fueled rally will keep on rolling.

But others are warning that this is a trap for bullish investors, and Kevin Smith is openly telling everyone that this could be the “last chance to sell” before another huge move downward…

The stock market may be flashing some ridiculously bullish signals, but hedge fund bear Kevin Smith is sticking by his prediction that the Dow and S&P 500 are on the verge of a Great Depression-level crash.

In fact, the Crescat Capital founder warns, this is your “last chance to sell” before the impending collapse.

We shall see what happens, but for the moment the financial markets are doing their best to try to defy economic reality.

Unfortunately, economic reality is hitting most Americans like a ton of bricks right now.  We are in the middle of the greatest spike in unemployment that the United States has ever seen by a very wide margin, and most of the jobs that have been lost are never coming back.

And as bad as things are already, the truth is that this is just the beginning.

A whole lot more pain is on the way, and it is going to shake our nation to the core.

Our economic and financial bubbles lasted far longer than they should have, but now fear of COVID-19 has burst them all, and it isn’t going to be possible to reinflate them this time around.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

About One-Fifth Of All The Jobs In The U.S. Are Already Gone, And This Economic Depression Is Just 6 Weeks Old

In all of U.S. history we have never seen anything like this.  I have been sitting at my desk for quite a while searching for the proper words to convey the gravity of what we are facing, and to be honest it has been quite a struggle.  On Thursday, we learned that another 3.8 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week.  That was much higher than many experts were anticipating, because by now the initial surge of unemployment caused by the coronavirus lockdowns should have started to fade quite a bit.  But instead, the job loss tsunami continues to roll on, and at this point a total of 30.3 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits over the past six weeks.  The following comes from ABC News

Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is more people than live in the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas combined, and it’s by far the worst string of layoffs on record.

According to numbers that come straight from the Federal Reserve, more than 152 million Americans were working in February, and that was an all-time high.

So losing 30.3 million jobs in six weeks means that nearly one-fifth of all jobs in the United States have officially vanished in just a month and a half.

And actually things are even worse than that, because millions of Americans still have not been able to successfully file claims because state unemployment websites have been so overloaded.  Just check out these truly alarming numbers from the Economic Policy Institute

The Economic Policy Institute found that for every 10 people who said they successfully filed a jobless claim in the previous four weeks, three to four more attempted to apply but couldn’t get through the system to file a claim.

Meanwhile, another two people didn’t even bother to try because it seemed too hard.

State unemployment websites were never designed to handle this sort of an onslaught.  For some unemployed Americans, attempting to get the benefits that they have been promised can be an exceedingly frustrating experience

Marci Oberst sat down at her computer Tuesday and embarked on what’s become a daily ritual – trying to log onto the Maryland Department of Labor’s website so she can extend her unemployment insurance.

At 9:30 AM, she was number 88,000 in line, according to the state’s labor website.

Number 88,000 in line?

How is that even possible?

Sadly, this is what an economic collapse looks like, and the months ahead are going to be exceedingly painful.

Needless to say, economic activity has come to a virtual standstill during these lockdowns, and this is really starting to show up in the numbers.  For example, Edmunds is projecting that U.S. auto sales will be down by more than half compared to last April…

The car shopping experts at Edmunds say that April will be a record down month for the auto industry due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, forecasting that 633,260 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 7.7 million. This reflects a 52.5% decrease in sales from April 2019, and a 36.6% decrease from March 2020. Edmunds analysts note that this is the lowest-volume sales month dating back to at least 1990; the second worst month for sales in the past 30 years was January of 2009, when 655,000 vehicles were sold.

And major retailers are failing so rapidly now that it is hard to keep up with all the carnage.

The latest major victim to make headlines is J. Crew

Clothing apparel company J. Crew is preparing for a bankruptcy filing that could come as soon as this weekend, people familiar with the matter tell CNBC.

Privately held J. Crew is working to secure $400 million in financing to fund operations in bankruptcy, said the people, who requested anonymity because the information is confidential. They cautioned that timing could still slip, and plans are not yet finalized.

COVID-19 has created an environment of great fear, and as I have been warning for a very long time, financial institutions tighten the flow of credit in such an environment.

We saw this happen during the last financial crisis, and it is starting to happen again now.

All over America we are seeing lending conditions being greatly tightened, and Wall Fargo just announced that they will no longer be taking applications for HELOCs at all

Wells Fargo, one of the largest home lenders in the U.S., is stepping away from the market for home equity lines of credit because of uncertainty tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

The bank informed its mortgage personnel of the news Thursday in a conference call, according to a source, and the move was confirmed by company spokesman Tom Goyda.

I was absolutely floored when I first read that.

Our entire system depends on easy credit, and these changing conditions are going to create quite a bit of chaos for the foreseeable future.  Americans are going to find that it is much, much more difficult to be approved for home loans, auto loans and credit cards, and that is going to greatly depress economic activity.

Fear is also deeply affecting U.S. consumers, and at this point they are hoarding cash at a pace that we haven’t seen since the 1980s

Americans are so nervous about the state of the economy that they are stashing cash in the bank at a rate not seen since the first year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

The United States government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday morning that the savings rate surged to 13.1% in March — up from 8% in February.

But of course there are tens of millions of Americans that have already run through their savings and can’t hoard cash because they don’t have any left.

According to one brand new survey, many of those Americans now find themselves unable “to pay the rent, mortgage or utility bills”…

The coronavirus’ seismic hit on the U.S. economy is rattling people’s finances. Roughly 41% of working-age adults say their families have experienced a job loss, a decrease in work hours or other employment-related declines in income in recent weeks, according to a new analysis by the Urban Institute.

Underscoring the jump in financial distress around the country: More than 4 in 10 of Americans whose work was affected by the pandemic said they weren’t able to pay the rent, mortgage or utility bills; skipped medical care; or were at risk of going hungry.

Fear of COVID-19 turned out to be the “black swan event” that burst our debt-fueled economic bubble, but this economic depression would not end even if the coronavirus pandemic suddenly disappeared tomorrow.

Now that the economic dominoes are tumbling, all of the economic momentum is taking us in just one direction, and nobody is going to be able to reverse this process now that it has started.

Next week, a couple more million unemployed Americans will probably be added to our rapidly growing total, and it is just a matter of time before “great civil unrest” starts breaking out.

Our debt-fueled economy and our Ponzi scheme financial system were never going to be sustainable in the long run, and many have been warning for years that we would eventually be facing this sort of a scenario.

Now it is here, and I wish that I could tell you that everything is going to be okay and that our leaders are going to be able to put the pieces of our shattered economy back together, but I can’t.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

We Have Never Seen An Economic Collapse Quite Like This, And It Is Largely A Self-Inflicted Wound

The rate at which the U.S. economy is unraveling is absolutely breathtaking.  On Thursday, we learned that another 4.4 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, and that means that a grand total of more than 26 million Americans have lost their jobs during this pandemic so far.  To get an idea of just how dramatically this record-setting unemployment spike dwarfs what we witnessed during the last recession, check out these charts.  Prior to this year, the record for new unemployment claims in a single week was just 695,800, and now each of the last five weeks has been at least four times larger than that old record.  And as I discussed in an article earlier today, millions of those workers have absolutely no incentive to go back to work any time soon, because thanks to Congress they are bringing home more money now than when they were actually working.  So even if efforts are made to return the economy “to normal”, millions of workers will want to stay home until the $600 per week “unemployment bonus” finally expires.  The sad thing is that this new economic crisis is largely a self-inflicted wound, and I will explain why that is true later in this article.

But first let’s talk about where things currently stand.  Based on the unemployment claim numbers that we have been seeing, experts are now projecting that the current rate of unemployment in the U.S. “is about 16 percent”

With a labor force that totals about 162 million people, the claims figures suggest the unemployment rate is about 16 percent, or roughly one in six Americans — significantly higher than the 10 percent peak seen during the 2008 financial crisis. The previous one-week high for jobless claims was 695,800 in 1982.

For a long time I have been warning that the next crisis would make the last recession look like a Sunday picnic, and now that has actually happened.

In addition to an unprecedented number of initial claims for unemployment benefits, we have also absolutely smashed the all-time record for the number of “continuing claims”

A person who has filed an “initial claim” for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and still doesn’t have a job a week later is added to “insured unemployment.” The number of the “insured unemployed” – often called “continued claims” – skyrocketed to 15.98 million, by far the highest in the history of the data series. The high before this Covid-19 era was 6.63 million in May of 2009.

And now that Congress has given workers a tremendous financial incentive to stay unemployed, the number of “continuing claims” is likely to keep going higher with each passing week.

Of course this isn’t just happening in the United States.  Over in Europe, business activity is falling at the fastest pace ever recorded

“The eurozone economy suffered the steepest falls in business activity and employment ever recorded during April as a result of measures taken to contain the coronavirus outbreak,” it said.

The company’s purchasing manager’s index (PMI) dived to a record low of 13.5 in April, from the previous all-time low of 29.7 in March, confirming private sector gloom that is savaging the 19-nation eurozone.

To put those numbers in perspective, any reading below 50 indicates a contraction.

Needless to say, these absolutely horrific statistics are the result of the coronavirus lockdowns, but were these lockdowns actually necessary in the first place?

As I discussed yesterday, the only reason why any sort of a lockdown should be implemented is if the hospitals in a particular area are being overwhelmed, because if people are unable to get medical treatment that could definitely push the ultimate death toll from the pandemic higher than it otherwise would have been.

But in most parts of the U.S. and Europe right now, hospitals are not being even close to overwhelmed.

Keeping everyone at home is not going to defeat this virus or end this pandemic.  When you are dealing with a virus that spreads from person to person this easily, there is no way that you are going to contain it.  In fact, the U.S. just had 31,900 newly confirmed cases in the 24 hour period that just ended even though most of the nation has already been locked down for weeks.

Yes, these lockdowns have temporarily slowed down the spread of the virus, but the lockdowns have also extended the duration of this pandemic.  Ultimately, this pandemic is never going to be over until it sweeps through the population and “herd immunity” is achieved.  And as I discussed yesterday, 70 to 90 percent of the population is going to have to develop antibodies in order to get to that point.

And if you are waiting for a “vaccine” to get us out of this mess, you are going to be waiting for a very, very long time.  There has never been a successful vaccine for any coronavirus in all of human history, and the task of trying to develop one for COVID-19 has become exceedingly more difficult now that scientists have discovered that there are 30 different strains of the virus.

So the truth is that this outbreak is going to rip through our population, and nothing that our politicians can do will be able to stop that from happening.

But the good news is that new numbers from New York seem to indicate that we are closer to “herd immunity” than we previously thought…

Preliminary results from New York’s first coronavirus antibody study show nearly 14 percent tested positive, meaning they had the virus at some point and recovered, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. That equates to 2.7 million infections statewide — more than 10 times the state’s confirmed cases.

The study, part of Cuomo’s “aggressive” antibody testing launched earlier this week, is based on 3,000 random samples from 40 locations in 19 counties. While the preliminary data suggests much more widespread infection, it means New York’s mortality rate is much lower than previously thought.

However, another study that was conducted in L.A. County found that only 4 percent of their residents had developed antibodies, and that is probably more representative of the nation as a whole.

In any event, everyone agrees that the vast majority of the U.S. population has not developed antibodies, and that means that there will be many more cases and many more deaths in the months ahead.

And that is going to happen no matter how our politicians respond to this crisis.

So as long as our hospitals are not being overwhelmed, there isn’t a need for any lockdowns.  The final case total and the final death toll will be roughly the same whether there are lockdowns or not.

But these lockdowns are definitely killing our economy, and tens of millions of American workers now find themselves unemployed.

And if we continue to try to keep the U.S. economy shut down for a few more months, the economic damage will be incalculable.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  I am not saying that we should sacrifice lives in order to save the economy.  What I am saying is that about the same number of people are eventually going to die whether we have the lockdowns or not.  And if we can’t handle this, how in the world are we going to deal with what else is coming?

If you are elderly, have a compromised immune system or are in some other high risk group, you are going to have to quarantine yourself for the foreseeable future, but that would be true whether there are lockdowns or not.  The mortality rates for high risk groups are much, much higher than for the general population as a whole, and the danger is very real.

But everyone else should be allowed to get back to work, because most of the population is eventually going to catch this virus no matter what we do.  As long as our hospitals can handle it, we should proceed with life as normal.

Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen.  Most of the current lockdowns are going to remain in place for quite some time, and this new economic depression is just going to get deeper and deeper.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

The UN Is Now Admitting That This Coronavirus Pandemic Could Spark Famines Of “Biblical Proportions”

What the head of the UN’s World Food Program just said should be making front page headlines all over the globe.  Because if what he is claiming is true, we are about to see global food shortages on a scale that is absolutely unprecedented in modern history.  Even before COVID-19 arrived, armies of locusts the size of major cities were voraciously eating crops all across Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia, and UN officials were loudly warning about what that would mean for global food production.  And now the coronavirus shutdowns that have been implemented all over the planet have brought global trade to a standstill, they are making it more difficult to maintain normal food production operations, and they have forced countless workers to stay home and not earn a living.  All of this adds up to a recipe for a complete and utter nightmare in the months ahead.

David Beasley is the head of the UN’s World Food Program, and on Tuesday he warned that we could actually see famines of “biblical proportions” by the end of this calendar year.  The following comes from ABC News

The coronavirus pandemic could soon double hunger, causing famines of “biblical proportions” around the world by the end of the year, the head of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

Beasley warned that analysis from the World Food Programme, the U.N.’s food-assistance branch, shows that because of the coronavirus, “an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. That’s a total of 265 million people.”

He described what we are facing as “a hunger pandemic”, and he insisted that urgent action must be taken in order to avoid a nightmare scenario.

But in some parts of the globe a nightmare scenario is already unfolding.  For example, close to half the population of South Sudan is currently facing starvation, and for many of them the only food that is available is what gets dropped from the sky

The villagers hear the distant roar of jet engines before a cargo plane makes a deafening pass over Mogok, dropping sacks of grain from its hold to the marooned dust bowl below.

There is no other way to get food to this starving hamlet in South Sudan. There are no roads, and the snaking Nile is miles away.

Over in South Africa, the “chronic food shortages” have already become so severe that they are starting to spark rioting, looting and civil unrest…

UNREST broke out in parts of South Africa amid chronic food shortages sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Looters raided shops, attacked each other, the army and police after breaching one of the strictest lockdowns in the world.

Police fired rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the mobs but local community leaders fear more outbreaks of violence are imminent.

Here in the western world we don’t have to worry about such things yet, but without a doubt the number of needy people is rapidly rising.

This past Saturday, vehicles literally began lining up at 2 AM in the morning for a food distribution event at the San Antonio Food Bank

The San Antonio Food Bank teamed up with Atascosa County to feed meals and hope to hundreds of people Saturday morning. Vehicles began to line up around 2 AM Saturday outside the county courthouse, winding through neighborhoods at least two miles away.

I have never heard of people lining up so early before.

I have heard of vehicles lining up at the crack of dawn around the country in recent days, but 2 AM is absolutely nuts.

But these people realize that when the food is gone there will be no more handouts that day, and there are many that are absolutely desperate to get something to feed their families.

As this coronavirus pandemic has created an enormous amount of fear all over the country, empty shelves have been reported in frozen food sections all over the nation, and the fact that an increasing number of meat processing plants are being temporarily closed down is certainly not helping things.  According to CBS News, at least 17 meat processing plants in the United States have been shut down so far…

Coronavirus infections in at least 17 meat processing plants across nine states are contributing to a spike in confirmed cases in the Midwest. Although 13 plants are already closed temporarily or operating at reduced capacity, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says shutting down plants would hurt farmers and the national food supply.

In a desperate attempt to keep as many facilities in her state open as possible, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has enlisted the help of the National Guard

Hundreds of National Guard personnel are being activated in Iowa as coronavirus sweeps through meat-processing plants in a state that accounts for about a third of U.S. pork supply.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said 250 National Guard members have been moved to full-time federal duty status and could help with testing and contact tracing for workers at plants operated by Tyson Foods Inc. and National Beef Packing Co.

The good news is that authorities are telling us that any product shortages should just be temporary and that all of these processing plants will eventually be brought back on line.

But for the planet as a whole, life is not going to be getting back to “normal” any time soon.

In fact, Takeshi Kasai of the World Health Organization is warning that we need to accept “a new way of living” until a vaccine finally arrives

“At least until a vaccine, or a very effective treatment, is found, this process will need to become our new normal,” he said.

“Individuals and society need to be ready for a new way of living.”

But now that scientists have discovered approximately 30 different strains of this virus, that is going to greatly complicate matters.

Coming up with a successful vaccine for any coronavirus would be a historic feat, and now scientists also have to hope that they will pick the particular strain of COVID-19 that will become dominant in the future.

And of course many people around the globe will not want to take any vaccine that is developed under any circumstances.

So those that are thinking that there will be an easy way out of this crisis are likely to be deeply disappointed.

Meanwhile, the global economic downturn is getting deeper with each passing day, and global food supplies are getting tighter and tighter.

A global famine is coming, and the UN is sounding the alarm.

Unfortunately, most people in the western world are still not listening.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

Killed By The Coronavirus Lockdowns: 1000s Of U.S. Businesses That Were Shut Down Will Be Closed Permanently

This economic downturn is turning out to be far deeper and far more severe than most experts were originally anticipating.  More than 22 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits, and economists are telling us that the U.S. economy is contracting at the fastest rate that we have seen since the Second World War.  We are already starting to see some high profile companies move toward bankruptcy, but the real story is what is happening to thousands upon thousands of small and mid-size businesses because of the lockdowns.  Many of them were barely surviving even before this pandemic, and now these lockdowns have delivered a death blow.

The restaurant industry is a perfect example.  Prior to the pandemic, there were more than a million restaurants in the United States, and about half of them were independent.  Those independent restaurants employed approximately 11 million workers, and now the vast majority of those workers have been laid off.

Once the lockdowns are over, it would be wonderful if all of those independent restaurants would spring back to life, but the results of a recent survey suggest that simply is not going to happen.  In fact, that survey found that 28 percent of all independent restaurants are probably not going to survive if the lockdowns last for another month…

A survey released Thursday by the James Beard Association found independent restaurants laid off 91% of their hourly employees and nearly 70% of salaried employees as of April 13 – double-digit increases in both categories since March. The poll of 1,400 small and independent restaurants found 38% of have closed temporarily or permanently, and 77% have seen their sales drop in half or worse.

Perhaps most troubling: 28% of restaurants said they don’t believe they can survive another month of closure, and only 1 out of 5 are certain they can sustain their businesses until normal operations can resume.

28 percent of 500,000 is 140,000, and so if these lockdowns are not lifted soon we could be facing a scenario is which tens of thousands of independent restaurants are lost forever.

Of course a lot of restaurants that do reopen will face a really tough struggle because fear of the coronavirus is going to keep customers away for the foreseeable future.  So even if all of the lockdowns were lifted tomorrow, the restaurant industry would still not fully recover.

Sadly, the same could be said for the fitness industry.  In fact, we just learned that one of the biggest fitness chains in the nation is getting ready to file for bankruptcy

Gym chain 24 Hour Fitness is working with advisors at investment bank Lazard and law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges to weigh options including a bankruptcy that could come as soon as the next few months, people familiar with the matter tell CNBC.

The chain is grappling with a heavy debt load, deteriorating performance and a coronavirus pandemic that forced it to shut its more than 400 clubs.

Yes, a certain segment of the population is quite eager to resume all of their normal pre-pandemic activities, but even a 20 or 30 percent drop off in revenue will be fatal for many gyms.

And the truth is that a lot of people are simply not going to be in the mood to share exercise equipment with others for a long time to come.

The entertainment, tourism and retail industries have also been hit extremely hard by this pandemic.  The other day I was quite stunned when I learned that Neiman Marcus “is reportedly ready to file bankruptcy”

Neiman Marcus Group, one of the largest retailers in the United States, is reportedly ready to file bankruptcy amid the COVD-19 pandemic after defaulting millions in bond payments last week and furloughing 14,000 employees.

Neiman Marcus would become the first major US department store to crumble amidst the economic set backs from the coronavirus outbreak.

No, things are definitely not going to be returning to “normal” in America, and there will be a lot more big corporate names among the victims in the days to come.

At this point, even some of the most prominent corporations in the entire country are “indefinitely” sidelining their workers

Indefinite furloughs began this weekend for more than 100,000 Disney, Best Buy and CarMax workers as businesses make cuts to survive the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent mandatory closures.

But most Americans are not in any position to handle “indefinite furloughs”.

In fact, one survey discovered that a whopping 50 percent of all Americans will run through their savings “by the end of April”

One of the largest concerns on most homeowners minds right now is how they are going to pay bills — specifically their monthly mortgage payments. 50% of Americans reported their savings will run out by the end of April. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, 30% of homeowners had less than $1,000 in an emergency fund, with 22% reporting they didn’t have enough in savings to cover their mortgage payment for one month.

Just like during the last recession, countless numbers of Americans will go from living a comfortable middle class lifestyle to being desperately needy in just a matter of weeks.

I have been writing a lot about the absolutely massive lines that we have been seeing at food banks all over the nation, and we just witnessed another example in Miami.  In one of the wealthiest areas of the entire city, vehicles were lined up for a mile as people waited patiently to receive handouts from a local food bank…

Talk about a Norman Rockwell painting idea come to life — a parade of cars filled with hungry people in Miami … smack dab in the middle of two of the city’s ritziest hotels.

Check out this surreal scene down in Miami Beach, where a MILE-long line of cars were arranged in a giant U-curve in between the W Hotel and Setai Hotel — two of MB’s most high-end go-to spots for celebrity out-of-towners … like Kim K, Justin Bieber and more.

You can see photos from that event right here, and if you look closely you will see that some of those vehicles are quite nice.

As I have warned so many times over the years, if you don’t have any sort of a financial cushion you can “suddenly” find yourself in a whole lot of trouble when disaster finally strikes.

Unfortunately, we have now entered a time when there will be one crisis after another, and every new crisis will significantly escalate our woes.

For a very long time, there have been very loud warnings that our debt-fueled economic bubble would burst, and now it has happened.

The road ahead is going to be filled with immense pain, and most Americans are not going to be able to handle it.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

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