Is This The Lowest Point In Modern U.S. History?

Things have certainly gotten really crazy here in 2020.  First we witnessed the eruption of the worst global pandemic in 100 years, then the U.S. economy started collapsing, and then we watched major U.S. cities burn from coast to coast as rioting and looting spiraled out of control.  Everywhere you look, people are very angry and deeply frustrated, nearly 46 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits over the past few months, and fear of COVID-19 continues to paralyze our society to a frightening extent.  But can this really be called the lowest point in modern U.S. history?  According to one recent survey, a whopping 72 percent of all Americans actually believe that this “is the lowest point in the country’s history that they’ve ever been alive to see”…

Across two polls, more than 5,000 adult U.S. residents were recently surveyed on the state of America right now. A staggering 83% say that worrying about the future of the United States is a big source of personal stress. Also, 72% believe this is the lowest point in the country’s history that they’ve ever been alive to see.

That appears to be quite a consensus.

Of course many of those that were alive during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the early days of World War II would strongly argue that what we are experiencing today is nothing compared to what they had to deal with.

And without a doubt, the twelve years from 1968 to 1980 were not easy years by any stretch of the imagination.  Just like now, Americans of that era were facing great civil unrest, tremendous economic problems, major political shaking and a global pandemic that killed a lot of people.  If you don’t know about that pandemic, just Google “the flu pandemic of 1968”.

Having said all that, there is definitely a case to be made for 2020.  Not even during the Great Depression did we ever see the kind of apocalyptic spike in unemployment that we have witnessed this year.  Even though nearly 46 million Americans have already filed for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began, big firms continue to lay off thousands upon thousands of workers.  On top of that, more than 100,000 businesses have already permanently closed their doors, and Americans have already skipped payments on more than 100 million loans.

And as I explained the other day, the most severe pain from this economic downturn won’t even begin to hit us until about six weeks from now.

As emergency government assistance starts to fade, an increasing number of Americans will have a very difficult time keeping up with paying the bills.  In fact, another new survey has found that about half of all homeowners are “worried about making future mortgage payments”

New research offers a glimpse into struggling households, discovers out of the 2,000 American homeowners polled, over half (52%) of respondents say they’re routinely worried about making future mortgage payments and nearly half (47%) considered selling their home because of the inability to service mortgage payments.

The study, conducted by OnePoll and the National Association of Realtors, determined 81% of respondents had experienced unexpected financial stress due to the virus-induced recession. Over half (56%) reduced spending so they could service mortgage payments.

Meanwhile, fear of COVID-19 is going to continue to paralyze our society for the foreseeable future.

I don’t know if you have taken a look at the numbers lately, but the truth is that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is starting to surge again.  For the planet as a whole, Friday was the worst day of the pandemic so far by a very wide margin, and that means that this crisis is a long, long way from over.

There are already whispers that there may be new lockdowns here in the United States.  I seriously hope that does not happen, because that would be another crippling blow for our collapsing economy, and the virus just continued to spread during the first round of lockdowns anyway.

On top of everything else, more rioting, looting and violence could erupt at literally any moment.  Since this is an election year, tensions are going to be running even higher than usual, and even a relatively minor spark could cause another round of major civil unrest.

But as bad as things are right now, what most people don’t understand is that this is just the beginning.

As I have warned so many times before, we have entered a time when we are going to be facing one crisis after another, and this is going to be true no matter what happens during the election in November.

We have reached a moment in history when all of the cycles are ending, all of the bubbles are bursting, and we are going to experience the consequences of all the very foolish decisions that we have been making for decades.

At this point, the immediate outlook is so bleak that it is turning all sorts of people into raging pessimists.  For example, Wolf Richter just posted an article in which he explained why he just shorted the entire stock market

I’m sharing this trade so that everyone gets to ridicule me and hail me as a moron and have fun at my expense in the comments for weeks and months every time the market goes up. And I do not recommend shorting this market; it’s nuts. But here’s why I did.

The stock market had just gone through what was termed the “greatest 50-day rally in history.” The S&P 500 index had skyrocketed 47% from the intraday low on March 23 (2,192) to the close on June 8 (3,232). It was a blistering phenomenal rally. Since June 8, the market has gotten off track but not by much. It’s still a phenomenal rally. And it came during the worst economy in my lifetime.

I know that a lot of people will criticize him for making such a move, but I applaud him for his bravery.

Even if his timing turns out to be a bit early, I certainly concur with him that this latest Fed-fueled bubble will inevitably burst.

But ultimately we are going to be facing problems that are much more severe than a stock market crash.  In fact, a market crash will be among the least of our problems.

Because it isn’t just our economy that is collapsing.

Our entire society is in the process of imploding, and if you don’t like 2020, then you really aren’t going to like what is going to happen in 2021 and beyond.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

Millions Of Americans Are Now Making Far More Money Being Unemployed Than They Did When They Were Actually Working

More than 26 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits in recent weeks, and a lot of them will now be bringing home much more money than they did while they were actually working.  Needless to say, this is going to create a perverse incentive for people to stay unemployed for as long as possible.  Just think about this for a moment.  If you could earn more money sitting on your sofa gobbling down chips and watching Netflix, what possible motivation would you have to go back to work?  Many low paid workers are going to want to ride this gravy train all the way to the end, and as you will see below, this is already causing big problems for businesses all across America.

So how did we get to this point?

Well, the Democrats pushed extremely hard to get a provision into the CARES Act that would give unemployed workers an additional $600 a week on top of any normal unemployment benefits.  The following comes from USA Today

The CARES Act includes a $600-a-week bonus until July 31 for those registered as unemployed. The $600 is issued in addition to the standard unemployment benefit, which varies by state and by individuals’ record of previous earnings.

This means that for the next several months, unemployed workers all over America will be bringing home at least the equivalent of $15 an hour based on a 40 hour work week, and some Republican members of Congress were very concerned about this…

Some Republican lawmakers warned about this unintended consequence of the relief bill when it was being drafted, noting that $600 a week amounts to $15 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum wage. That’s in addition to state unemployment benefits, which vary widely, from a maximum of $235 per week in Mississippi to $795 per week in Massachusetts.

Despite those concerns, the CARES Act easily sailed through both chambers of Congress, and now we are stuck with it.

If it was just a small percentage of workers that were being overpaid not to work, we could certainly live with that on a temporary basis.

But according to one study, more than 42 percent of all workers made less than $15 an hour in 2015

According to a report by the Leadership Conference Fund and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, 42.4% of people working in the United States in 2015 earned less than $15 an hour.

So how is the economy supposed to “get back to normal” if more than 40 percent of our workers would be better off unemployed?

In a previous article, I documented the fact that Social Security Administration numbers show that half of all U.S. workers make less than $33,000 a year.  Of course if you multiply $600 by 52 weeks, you get $31,200.  The provision in the CARES Act that pays this bonus money to unemployed workers is supposed to expire on July 31st, but there is likely going to be a tremendous push to extend these benefits far beyond that date.

To some of my readers, it may sound “heartless” to want to deny unemployed workers these big checks during a global pandemic, but businesses all over America are not going to be able to “return to normal” if millions upon millions of workers simply do not want to work.

In fact, a coffee shop owner in Harlan, Kentucky named Sky Marietta just had to close her entire business down because it would cost her former employees “literally hundreds of dollars per week” to be employed.  The following comes from her personal blog

When our family opened a coffee shop in Harlan, Kentucky we had big plans for something that could contribute to the fragile economy of an Appalachian community just beginning to recover from the decades-long loss of coal jobs. We wanted to repurpose a vacant, historic downtown building to give some life to a Main Street that was beautiful but looked forgotten. We wanted to provide a safe gathering space with good internet where people could meet and work. But more than anything, we wanted to create dignified, living-wage jobs. And when we announced our first openings, it was clear that those jobs were needed: we had 96 people apply to be a barista in a town with a population of 1,425.

So perhaps one of the most shocking outcomes of the Coronavirus Pandemic – and especially of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) – is that the very people we hired have now asked us to be laid off. Not because they did not like their jobs or because they did not want to work, but because it would cost them literally hundreds of dollars per week to be employed. It is the nail in the coffin of a Main Street business, and our last day open will be Saturday. Let’s talk about why the very program that is supposed to support small businesses is currently helping their demise and take a hard look at the economic realities we are setting ourselves up for.

Are you starting to understand how serious this is?

Without workers, we don’t have an economy, and right now we are incentivizing people not to work.

In an article that was just posted, Zero Hedge is reporting that employees at one business in Washington State were “furious” with the owner because the owner has kept paying them during this crisis…

And now, as BizPacReview.com’s Vivek Saxena details below a Washington State business owner faced backlash from her employees after she obtained a forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government that has allowed her to keep them fully paid through the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with CNBC this week, salon owner Jamie Black-Lewis of the Oasis Medspa & Salon in Woodinville and Amai Day Spa in Bothell said her employees were furious because they were already “making” more money being unemployed.

For the foreseeable future, there is going to be an unprecedented stampede of people applying for unemployment benefits, and almost all of them are going to want to stay unemployed until at least July 31st.

And if the CARES Act bonuses get extended, most unemployed workers are going to want to remain on the sidelines until the bonuses finally end.

For a very long time I have been warning that economic collapse was coming, and now that it has arrived Congress is making it even worse with their meddling.

So don’t expect the unemployment rate to bounce back very much once this pandemic begins to subside.  Congress has decided to make it very financially rewarding not to work, and millions upon millions of Americans are going to be more than happy to take advantage of that opportunity for as long as it lasts.

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.

U.S. Economy Contracting “At Its Sharpest Pace Since World War Two” And “The Worst Is Yet To Come”

Fear of COVID-19 has unleashed economic chaos on a scale that has already surpassed anything that we witnessed during the last recession, and as you will see below, we are now being warned that “the worst is yet to come”.  Many Americans are hoping that things can start to return to normal as the U.S. economy “reopens” in the weeks ahead, but the truth is that we are still in the very early chapters of this crisis.  In fact, it is being estimated that we are only one-tenth of the way through this pandemic, and by “flattening the curve” we have actually extended the economic pain.  You see, the truth is that most Americans are going to end up catching this virus one way or another.  All of the “shelter-in-place” orders have temporarily slowed down the spread of this coronavirus, but once they are lifted it is inevitable that we will see new waves of people becoming infected.  And if you think that a vaccine will be the golden ticket that gets us out of this mess, you might want to reconsider that belief, because there has never been a successful vaccine for any coronavirus.  Of course it is possible that scientists could come up with something this time around, but if the virus mutates significantly that could render any potential vaccine absolutely useless.

In the days ahead, there will be a tremendous amount of debate about the correct way to fight this virus, but meanwhile the U.S. economy will continue to deteriorate.

In fact, Reuters is reporting that economists are now projecting that the U.S. economy is contracting “at its sharpest pace since World War Two”…

The deepening economic slump was also amplified by other data on Thursday showing manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region plunged to levels last seen in 1980 and homebuilding tumbling by the most in 36 years in March.

The reports followed dismal reports on Wednesday of a record drop in retail sales in March and the biggest decline in factory output since 1946. Economists are predicting the economy, which they believe is already in recession, contracted in the first quarter at its sharpest pace since World War Two.

Yesterday, I documented the fact that we are in the midst of the largest tsunami of job losses in U.S. history by a very wide margin.

In fact, we are absolutely obliterating the old records, and that truly puts us in unchartered territory.  And as bad as things have already gotten, one prominent expert told Reuters that “the worst is yet to come”…

Economists are estimating the economy contracted as much as 10.8% in the first quarter, which would be the steepest drop in gross domestic product since 1947. They say the massive fiscal package will likely provide little cushion for the economy.

“The economy is in a downward spiral where job losses beget job losses and the federal government emergency relief checks will not be enough to turn the tide,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “The recovery is looking less V-shaped by the day as the deeper we fall, the harder it will be for the nation to climb back out of this deep hole the pandemic has dug for the economy. The worst is yet to come.”

As areas around the country start “reopening for business”, some of the jobs that were lost will come back.

But the truth is that millions of those jobs are gone permanently, and large numbers of the businesses that were closed down will never open again.

For the foreseeable future, a lot of Americans are going to avoid going to restaurants, bars, movie theaters, shopping malls and other businesses that require close human interaction.  One expert that was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times says that for the next few years we need to accept the fact that the world “will be totally different than what we are used to”…

“The world that we are going to live in for at least the next two to three years will be totally different than what we are used to,” said Sung Won Sohn, president of SS Economics and professor at Loyola Marymount University.

“Because of the psychological shock that we have experienced, we are going to be more cautious, and we will probably spend less and save more, and we will have fewer contacts with other individuals,” he said. “We are going to be suspicious about things, [such as] whether people we are meeting have the virus and will the economy fall back down again.”

The fear that this pandemic has created is going to be with us for a very long time, and it is going to cause enormous shifts in economic behavior even after the U.S. starts “reopening”.

In an environment like this, very few people are buying vehicles, the housing market is already imploding all over the nation, and retailers are having a very difficult time envisioning any sort of a positive future for their industry at this point.

But at least we will all be getting big, fat socialist bailout checks from the government, right?

Actually, they won’t be that big, and for most Americans the checks will only get them through about one month.

So once that money is gone, will the federal government send us another round of “universal basic income” checks?

Now that they have gone down this rabbit hole, the federal government is in danger of sparking civil unrest if they don’t keep the checks coming.  In fact, Jim Rickards is entirely convinced that large scale “social disorder” is on the way…

Looting, burglary and violence in the midst of a state of emergency are the shape of things to come.

The veneer of civilization is paper-thin and easily torn. Most people don’t realize how fragile it is. But they’re going to learn that lesson, I’m afraid.

Expect social disorder to get worse long before it gets better.

Unfortunately, Rickards is right on point, and I have also been warning about “great civil unrest” for a very long time.  The delicately balanced debt-fueled prosperity that we had been enjoying for so many years has now been shattered, and things are going to get really ugly in this country.

And this coronavirus pandemic is not going away any time soon.  Over the last 24 hours, the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has jumped by more than 30,000 and the death toll has risen by more than 2,400 even though most of the nation is currently shut down.

Ending the lockdowns will give a boost to the economy, but it will also cause the virus to start spreading faster, and once that happens we could see another round of lockdowns.

In the end, our battle with COVID-19 will not be over until the virus has swept through most of the population, and we are not going to reach that point for quite a while.

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.

This Is The Worst Employment Collapse In U.S. History By A Very Wide Margin

We have never seen an “employment apocalypse” in the United States like we are witnessing right now, and it is not going to end any time soon.  Over the past several days, “coronavirus shutdowns” have officially been extended all over the nation, and the longer these shutdowns last the more jobs our economy is going to lose.  And because most Americans were living paycheck to paycheck before this pandemic hit us, many unemployed workers are already unable to pay their bills.  Yes, our authorities may be slowing down the spread of the virus, but in the process they have absolutely killed the economy.  On Thursday, I was stunned to learn that another 5.2 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week.  That brings the grand total for the last four weekly reports “to a staggering 22 million”

About 5.2 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.  Jobless claims provide the best measure of layoffs across the country. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated that 5.5 million Americans would file initial applications for unemployment insurance last week.

That brings the total claims over the past four weeks to a staggering 22 million. By comparison, the labor market added 21.5 million jobs since the Great Recession.

Just think about that.

22 million jobs wiped out in one month.

And the true number of jobs lost is actually even higher, because not everyone that loses a job files for unemployment benefits.

Prior to this year, the highest number of initial claims for unemployment benefits during any four week period that we had ever witnessed was 2.7 million during the fall of 1982.

So 22 million in four weeks truly puts us in uncharted territory.  Just look at this chart.

We aren’t just beating the old records, we are absolutely obliterating them.

You know that things are really, really bad when even NBC News sounds just like The Economic Collapse Blog…

“The labor market is obviously very, very important, and has a high correlation with what is going on in the economy,” Jay Bryson, the acting chief economist at Wells Fargo, told NBC News. “It is showing us what I think we all know, that the economy is falling off a cliff at an unprecedented rate.”

In other words, the chief economist at Wells Fargo is saying that the U.S. economy is completely and utterly collapsing.

According to Zero Hedge, “we have lost 710 jobs for every confirmed US death from COVID-19 (30,985).”  Our politicians have prioritized saving lives over saving the economy, and many people out there seem convinced that was the right choice, but the economic devastation has been immense.

The socialist “stimulus payments” and unemployment benefits will help all of these unemployed workers temporarily, but the payments from the federal government are supposedly just a one time deal, and it won’t be too long before many states start running out of unemployment money

Six states — including New York, which has the highest number of cases in the US — can only fund up to 10 weeks of unemployment benefits from their state coffers before money runs out and they have to turn to the federal government for additional funding, according to a recent estimate from the Tax Foundation.

Another 15 state trust funds don’t meet the federal Department of Labor’s recommended minimum solvency standard, which requires being able to pay benefits for a year in an economic downturn similar to the Great Recession.

So what will the federal government do once we get to that point?

I imagine that Congress will eventually want to borrow and spend trillions more dollars that we don’t have, and it is likely that “conservatives” and “liberals” will both be quite eager to vote for another pork-filled bill.

But it is probably going to take some time for Congress to get through the process of passing another crazy spending package, and meanwhile deep economic suffering is erupting all over the nation.

On Thursday, vehicles were lined up for two miles in Miramar, Florida as needy individuals waited for hours to get handouts from a local food bank.  We are starting to see food lines like this all over the country, and if things are this bad already, what will things look like a few months from now?

The chief economist at Grant Thornton in Chicago is calling this “the deepest, fastest, most broad-based recession we’ve ever seen”, and I can’t argue with that assessment one bit.

For a moment, I would like for you to consider just a few of the economic news items that we have seen over the past few days…

-United Airlines has reduced its schedule of flights for May and June “by about 90%” as demand for air travel has absolutely plummeted.

-U.S. retail sales were down 8.7 percent in March.

-J.C. Penney is “considering bankruptcy”.

-Housing starts just collapsed by the most that we have seen in 36 years.

-The mayor of Los Angeles says that large gatherings in his city will likely be banned until 2021.

-Facebook has canceled all large events until June 2021.

-Chinese GDP just experienced the largest drop ever recorded.

Of course nearly every nation will soon report absolutely staggering declines in GDP.  The shutdowns have brought economic activity to a standstill all over the globe, and no region is immune.

The following is how the Daily Mail is describing the current state of global trade…

The coronavirus pandemic is crippling global trade because crews on transport ships have been stranded at sea for months and food processing plants have been forced to close, threatening to bring the world’s supply chain to a grinding halt.

Shipping workers at sea are denied entry into ports, truckers can’t get to work in some countries or are confronted with complications at borders, food plants are closing and farm harvests going to waste in the crisis.

Does that sound like a “perfect storm” to you?

Well, the truth is that it is just getting started.

Eventually this pandemic will subside, but now that all of the economic dominoes are starting to tumble it will be exceedingly difficult to reverse that momentum.

And as I pointed out the other day, most Americans are not likely to resume all of their normal daily activities once the restrictions are finally lifted, and fear of this virus is going to be a dominant economic force for the foreseeable future.

What all of this means is that we are facing incredible economic pain for the short-term, the mid-term and for a long time to come.

At this point, we should no longer speak of “economic collapse” as something that will happen in the future.

It is here.

It is now.

And it is going to get a lot worse.

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 You Resume Normal Daily Activities Once The Coronavirus Restrictions Are Finally Lifted?

COVID-19 has turned all of our lives upside down, and most people are quite eager for a return to normalcy.  But as you will see below, fear of the coronavirus is going to prevent the vast majority of Americans from immediately resuming all of their normal daily activities once the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.  Every day there are more stories in the news about prominent individuals that have died from the virus, and the chilling testimonies of those that have wrestled with the virus and survived are extremely sobering.  Yes, most people that catch this virus will ultimately recover, but the fact that tens of thousands of Americans are dying is seriously scaring a lot of people.  And even though the “shelter-in-place” orders appear to be slowing the spread of the virus to a certain extent, the official U.S. death toll has actually doubled over the past week

U.S. deaths from the novel coronavirus topped 25,000 on Tuesday, doubling in one week, according to a Reuters tally, as officials debated how to reopen the economy without reigniting the outbreak.

The United States, with the world’s third-largest population, has recorded more fatalities from COVID-19 than any other country. There were a total of nearly 597,000 U.S. cases – three times more than any other country – with nearly 2 million reported cases globally.

And according to Worldometers.info, more than 2,200 Americans have died over the last 24 hours, and that would make this the deadliest day of this pandemic so far.

So it is easy to understand why so many people out there are deeply afraid of this virus.  Most of us don’t want to die, and COVID-19 can kill you.

In recent days, there has been a whole lot of talk about “reopening America”, and many are assuming that life will start to look somewhat normal once that happens.

But Gallup just conducted a survey in which they asked people if they would be “resuming their normal daily activities” once the restrictions are lifted, and these were the results

Americans remain hesitant about resuming their normal daily activities amid the COVID-19 outbreak according to a Gallup question first asked in late March and repeated in early April.

When asked how quickly they will return to their normal activities once the government lifts restrictions and businesses and schools start to reopen, the vast majority of Americans say they would wait and see what happens with the spread of the virus (71%) and another 10% would wait indefinitely. Just 20% say they would return to their normal activities immediately.

In other words, about 80 percent of the country is going to take a hesitant approach, and that has huge implications for our economy moving forward.

Of course all of the coronavirus restrictions are not going to be lifted any time soon anyway, and this is something that I discussed yesterday.

Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom set forth six specific conditions which must be met before the restrictions will be lifted in his state…

  1. The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed.
  2. The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19.
  3. The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges.
  4. The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand.
  5. The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing.
  6. The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

Needless to say, California may continue to be locked down for an extended period of time to come.

But the longer that these shutdowns persist, the more impatient many Americans are going to become.

Already, we are starting to see protests pop up all over the nation.  For example, just check out what is happening in Michigan

At least 15,000 cars and trucks are expected to descend on Michigan’s state capital on Wednesday to protest what they’re calling Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s tyrannical new guidelines to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.

The so-called “drive-by” demonstration – in order to maintain social distancing — aims to bring traffic to a gridlock in Lansing and protest the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order by Whitmer, a Democrat, mandating what businesses could stay home, what some businesses could sell and ordering people in her state against any gatherings – no matter the size or family ties.

I am seeing a lot of anger out there right now.  Business owners, workers and entrepreneurs are not being allowed to make a living and provide for their families, and I can certainly understand their frustration.

And the longer that things are shut down, the worse this economic downturn is going to become.  At this point, the IMF is projecting the worst performance for the global economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s

The global economy will this year likely suffer the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, as governments worldwide grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Washington-based organization now expects the global economy to contract by 3% in 2020. By contrast, in January it had forecast a global GDP (gross domestic product) expansion of 3.3% for this year.

Actually, I believe that the IMF’s projection is way too optimistic.

If global GDP only declines by 3 percent in 2020, that should be considered a rip-roaring success.

Now that the U.S. has become the epicenter for this pandemic, our nation is being hit particularly hard economically, and we are being warned that more than 2,000 cities “are anticipating major budget shortfalls this year”

More than 2,100 U.S. cities are anticipating major budget shortfalls this year and many are planning to slash programs and cut staff in response, according to a new survey of local officials released Tuesday, illustrating the widespread financial havoc threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The bleak outlook — shared by local governments representing roughly 93 million people nationwide — led some top mayors and other leaders to call for greater federal aid to protect cities now forced to choose between balancing their cash-strapped ledgers and sustaining the public services that residents need most.

Of course this is just only the beginning of the end.  All of the economic and financial bubbles are bursting, and this is going to cause severe distress on the national, state, local and community levels.

And as long as COVID-19 is still spreading somewhere, fear of the coronavirus is going to cause a lot of people to greatly alter their normal economic patterns.

So the truth is that we have a very long and very painful road ahead of us, and the months to come are going to make the last recession look like a Sunday picnic.

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.

Now They Are Telling Us That Life In America Will Definitely Not Be Returning To Normal “For The Foreseeable Future”

If you thought that this pandemic would pass quickly and that life in America would soon return to “normal”, I am afraid that you are in for quite a shock.  Some of the restrictions currently in place will eventually be lifted, and efforts will be made to get people back to work, but life is still going to be radically different from what we had become accustomed to before COVID-19 started sweeping across the globe.  Authorities are telling us that there may be “rolling shutdowns” for up to 18 months, that social distancing guidelines will be necessary for a long time to come, and that this crisis will not ultimately be resolved until they can inject everyone with a vaccine.  If all of this greatly alarms you, please be assured that you are not alone.

In recent days there has been a tremendous amount of debate about when to “reopen the U.S. economy”, and organizations all along the political spectrum have drafted plans for how to do that.

Ezra Klein actually read quite a few of those plans, and he discovered that none of them would return our lives to normal “for the foreseeable future”

Over the past few days, I’ve been reading the major plans for what comes after social distancing. You can read them, too. There’s one from the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, the left-leaning Center for American Progress, Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer.

I thought, perhaps naively, that reading them would be a comfort — at least then I’d be able to imagine the path back to normal. But it wasn’t. In different ways, all these plans say the same thing: Even if you can imagine the herculean political, social, and economic changes necessary to manage our way through this crisis effectively, there is no normal for the foreseeable future. Until there’s a vaccine, the United States either needs economically ruinous levels of social distancing, a digital surveillance state of shocking size and scope, or a mass testing apparatus of even more shocking size and intrusiveness.

Over and over again, a “vaccine” is being touted as the golden ticket that will get us out of this mess.

The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Neel Kashkari, is another prominent voice that is warning that there won’t be a return to normalcy until a vaccine comes along.  And until that time comes, he believes that we are potentially facing “an 18-month strategy of rolling shutdowns”

Kashkari, while acknowledging the downside of what a prolonged shutdown could mean for the economy, said the U.S., “barring some health-care miracle,” is looking at an 18-month strategy of rolling shutdowns based on what has happened in other countries.

“We could have these waves of flare-ups, controls, flare-ups and controls, until we actually get a therapy or a vaccine,” he said. “We need to find ways of getting the people who are healthy, who are at lower risk, back to work and then providing the assistance to those who are most at risk, who are going to need to be quarantined or isolated for the foreseeable future.”

In other words, Kashkari believes that all or part of the nation will be shut down over and over again whenever the number of coronavirus cases starts to spike too high.

Of course the WHO is eagerly looking forward to global vaccination as well, and the head of the WHO just told the media that he believes that this virus is ten times deadlier than the swine flu pandemic of 2009…

Coronavirus is ten times deadlier than the 2009 swine flu pandemic and a vaccine will be needed to halt it, the World Health Organisation has said.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from Geneva the organisation was constantly learning about the bug sweeping the globe.

Over and over again, officials are telling us that we are facing an 18 month timeframe until a vaccine will be ready.  Just check out what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his press conference earlier today…

On Monday, governor Cuomo was joined on a conference call by the other Northeast governors. The recovery must be careful, incremental and guided by experts rather than politics, Cuomo said, and the pandemic won’t be truly “over” until a vaccine is available, which could take as long as 18 months. Ideally, a plan would also involve widespread testing, he said, to allow those without the virus – and those who have recovered and may now be resistant to it – to return to work first.

By the time 18 months goes by, most of the general population will be so desperate to feel safe from this virus that they will race out to get the vaccine as fast as they possibly can.

And until then, we can expect economic conditions to steadily deteriorate.

Yes, hopefully most businesses in the country will be allowed to reopen in a matter of weeks, but that doesn’t mean that the customers will come back.

Prior to this pandemic, we were already witnessing the worst “retail apocalypse” in U.S. history, and now one research firm is warning that an all-time record 15,000 stores could be permanently shuttered in 2020

Coresight Research predicts that 15,000 U.S. stores will permanently close this year, setting a new record and nearly doubling its earlier forecast of 8,000 store closings.

‘Retail has hung a closed sign on the door literally and metaphorically,’ Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said.

Pretty soon, our communities are going to be absolutely littered with abandoned buildings, and “space available” signs will start popping up everywhere.

Meanwhile, millions upon millions of U.S. consumers will be falling on very hard times.  We are in the midst of the greatest spike in unemployment in all of American history, and the number of people taking advantage of the federal government’s mortgage forbearance program has gone through the roof

With unemployment claims hitting nearly 17 million over the last three weeks, the number of Americans applying for the government’s mortgage forbearance program under the COVID-19 relief plan spiked 73% for the week ending April 5 vs. the previous week – jumping from 2.73% to 3.74%, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

For context, the total number of loans in forbearance was just 0.25% for the week of March 2 – an increase of 1,496% in just six weeks, with the number of borrowers in forbearance now topping 2 million according to CNBC.

Realizing that we are on the verge of another massive wave of mortgage defaults, mortgage lenders all over the nation are rapidly tightening standards.  JPMorgan is just one example

Over the weekend our skepticism was confirmed when Reuters reported that JPMorgan, the country’s largest lender by assets and which will kick off earnings season tomorrow, will raise borrowing standards this week for most new home loans as the bank “moves to mitigate lending risk stemming from the novel coronavirus disruption.”

Starting Tuesday, customers applying for a new mortgage will need a credit score of at least 700, and will be required to make a down payment equal to 20% of the home’s value (something which we thought was the norm after the last financial crisis, but apparently lending conditions had eased quite a bit in the past decade).

For a very long time I have been warning that the flow of credit would get really tight when the next crisis hit.

Now we are here, and Americans are going to have a much harder time getting loans to buy homes, vehicles or anything else.

Everything that I have been warning about in my books is beginning to transpire, and a tremendous amount of pain is ahead.

My hope is that all of the pain that is ahead will cause a mass awakening and America will turn in a more positive direction.

But to most people, the immediate future looks really bleak right now, and that is not going to change any time soon.

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.

Deep Economic Suffering Has Erupted All Over America, But Guess Who The Federal Reserve Is Helping?

As millions upon millions of Americans lose their jobs in the greatest wave of unemployment in U.S. history, the Federal Reserve has decided that now is the time to spend trillions of newly created dollars in a desperate attempt to protect financial asset values.  In other words, as much of the country suddenly plunges into poverty, the Federal Reserve is working exceedingly hard to protect the wealth of the elite.  Approximately fifty percent of all stock market wealth is owned by the wealthiest one percent of all Americans, and the amount of stock market wealth owned by the poorest 50 percent of all Americans is so small that it really doesn’t matter.  And those running the Fed certainly understand that their reckless policies will create very painful inflation that will hit average American families extremely hard, but they don’t seem to care.  At this point, they figure that asset values must be protected at all costs, and that is going to continue to expand the absolutely massive gap between the rich and the poor in this country.

Over the past 3 weeks, more than 16 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits.

Prior to this year, the highest number that we had ever seen in any 3 week span in all of American history was about 2 million.

It is a collapse of unprecedented magnitude, and things have already gotten so bad that even “the Happiest Place on Earth” is conducting mass layoffs

Walt Disney World Resort will furlough 43,000 union workers while its theme parks remain closed as authorities restrict large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Service Trades Council Union.

Because most U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck, many of the newly unemployed have fallen on hard times very rapidly.  Food banks all over the nation are seeing an alarming surge in demand, and in many cities people are literally lining up before the sun rises in order to ensure that they will get some food

In many cities, lines outside food pantries have become glaring symbols of financial precarity, showing how quickly the pandemic has devastated working people’s finances.

In San Antonio, 10,000 families began arriving before dawn on Thursday at a now-shuttered swap meet hall to receive boxes of food. Normally, 200 to 400 families might show up during a normal food distribution.

For many other similar examples, please see my previous article entitled “America’s ‘Food Lines’ Are Being Measured In Miles As Desperation Sets In All Over The Country”.  Yes, things got bad during the last recession, but they were never as bad as we are witnessing now.  In fact, the CEO of Feeding America says that demand is already at the highest level that she has ever seen

‘I’ve never witnessed a system being more strained,’ Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said.

‘For the first time probably in our history, we’ve had to turn some people away,’ she said, not that ‘We don’t want to do that, ever.’

Unfortunately, this economic collapse is still in the very early chapters.  If you can believe it, JPMorgan is actually projecting that U.S. GDP “will fall by 40 percent” on an annualized basis during the second quarter

According to CNBC, JPMorgan economists are forecasting that the GDP will fall by 40 percent through the spring months. They also predict unemployment will reach 20 percent in April, with 25 million jobs lost overall.

Such a drop would be, by far, the worst in U.S. history. For context, according to Credit Suisse (via Business Insider), the worst quarterly drop of the 2008 crash was 8.4 percent.

And even once the “shelter-in-place” orders are finally lifted, that will not mean that things will go back to normal.  As Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Shiller has noted, fear of the coronavirus is going to cause many Americans to avoid restaurants, sporting events and other businesses where public interaction is required for a long time to come…

“The shortage of supplies is generating horrible news stories that put us all on edge,” said Shiller. “It may mean people won’t go to restaurants or sporting events in good numbers for years. You know the disease might not well be eradicated for several years from now.”

So the truth is that we are heading into a very deep economic depression, and the economic suffering in this country is going to be off the charts.

As events have begun to spiral out of control, the Federal Reserve has sprung into action on a scale unlike anything that we have ever seen before, and this has pushed the Fed’s balance sheet above 6 trillion dollars

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet increased to a record $6.13 trillion this week as the central bank used its nearly unlimited buying power to soak up assets and keep markets functioning smoothly, even as efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic cut deeply into employment and economic output.

In the four weeks since the Fed slashed interest rates to zero, restarted bond purchases and rolled out an unprecedented range of programs to limit the economic damage from the outbreak, the central bank’s balance sheet has jumped by about $1.7 trillion.

Let me try to put those numbers in perspective.

During QE3, the Fed’s balance sheet increased by 1.7 trillion dollars over the course of an entire year, and now the Fed has achieved that same feat in just four weeks.

What the Fed is doing is completely and utterly insane, but to a certain extent it is working.

Even though we are in the midst of the most dramatic unemployment spike in American history, last week was the best week for the stock market in decades thanks to the Fed.

Isn’t that nuts?

I know that this also sounds incredibly absurd, but last week’s surge actually pushed P/E values back near record highs.

In other words, stock prices are incredibly overvalued at this moment.

And if everything that we have already witnessed was not enough, on Thursday the Fed announced that it will now be spending trillions of dollars to voraciously buy up bonds of all types

The Federal Reserve is not leaving any corner of the U.S. bond market behind in this crisis.

There’s no other way to interpret the central bank’s sweeping measures announced Thursday, which together provide as much as $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy. It will wade into the $3.9 trillion U.S. municipal-bond market to an unprecedented degree, can now purchase “fallen angel” bonds from companies that have recently lost their investment-grade ratings, and has expanded its Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility to include top-rated commercial mortgage-backed securities and collateralized loan obligations.

In other words, moving forward we will no longer have a “bond market”.  What we will have is a Fed-manipulated sham in which the Fed picks winners and losers.

Of course many believe that it is only a matter of time before the Fed starts buying stocks as well.

Those that love free markets should be absolutely disgusted by all of this, because the Fed is coming up with lots of new ways to give handouts to the very wealthy.

Meanwhile, the poor are rapidly getting poorer.

But don’t worry too much, because you will soon receive your $1,200 socialist handout from the federal government.

Try not to spend it all in one place.

Needless to say, $1,200 won’t last very long in the hands of most Americans, and one recent survey found that “63% of respondents said they will need another check within the next three months”.

Like I warned from the very beginning, these sorts of direct payments set a very dangerous precedent, and if a Democrat wins the presidency in November they may become permanent.

That may sound really good to you, but what are you going to do when it gets to the point where you have to spend 500 dollars a week just to feed your family?

At that point many of you will also be lining up at the crack of dawn to receive whatever the food banks have available to give you

Outside of Pittsburgh, Danielle Small pulled up 90 minutes early to a food distribution, but found two long rows of cars already ahead of her. Money was getting tight after her boyfriend had to take a pay cut, and she decided to make her first trip to a food bank this week.

She said the line moved efficiently as cars pulled ahead in clusters of 10. After Ms. Small, 32, received a box filled with chicken fajita strips, preserved peaches, fruit, nuts and juice, she mouthed, “Thank you,” to the volunteers and drove away.

Millions of Americans driving nice vehicles and wearing nice clothes are suddenly being forced to spend hours waiting in food lines because fear of the coronavirus has crashed our economy.

A day of reckoning has finally arrived, and a lot more pain is on the way.

Sadly, many Americans will just go along with whatever “solutions” are proposed as long as it looks like they may provide short-term relief.  What remains of our free markets is being obliterated, Congress is openly embracing socialism, and our rights are being stripped away at a staggering rate, but most people don’t seem concerned by any of this.

Most people just want the pain to end and for life to go back to normal, but that is simply not going to happen.

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.

A Massive Surge Of Unemployment Like America Has Never Seen Before

The pace at which Americans are losing their jobs is absolutely breathtaking.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the largest number of new claims for unemployment benefits ever recorded in a single week prior to this year was 695,000 during the week that ended October 2nd, 1982.  So that means that what we are now witnessing is completely unprecedented.  About half the country is currently under some sort of a “shelter-in-place” order, and there has never been a nationwide shutdown of businesses anything like what we are currently experiencing.  Many are hoping that America will be able to “get back to normal” soon, but that all depends on the progression of this pandemic.  The number of newly confirmed cases in the U.S. spiked by more than 11,000 on Wednesday, and the number of new deaths continues to escalate at a very alarming rate.  Until those numbers start to improve, life is definitely not going to “get back to normal”.

In recent days, so many newly unemployed Americans have been trying to file for unemployment benefits that it has been crashing websites all over the country.  For example, a newly unemployed worker in Michigan named Aaron Garza never was able to file for benefits through Michigan’s unemployment website although he kept on trying throughout Monday and Tuesday

When Aaron Garza was dismissed this week from his job as a parts specialist at a Toyota dealership in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he joined a tidal wave of unemployed people swamping systems to help them and straining state finances to the breaking point.

On Monday, Garza went to Michigan’s unemployment website and tried logging on to apply for benefits electronically. After 30 minutes, he was able to sign on, but by the time a verification code was sent to his phone 25 minutes later, he had already given up. As of Tuesday afternoon, he still hadn’t been able to get through.

Last week, 108,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits in the state of Michigan.

That is 20 times more than normal.

Ouch.

In Louisiana, things are even worse.  If you can believe it, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits is more than 40 times higher than usual

In Louisiana alone, 71,000 people filed new unemployment applications last week, compared to the usual 1,400 or 1,500 people per week, said state labor secretary Ava Dejoie.

Louisiana has one of the highest per capita counts of coronavirus cases in the U.S. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has ordered nonessential businesses to close, limited restaurants to takeout and delivery, banned gatherings over 10 people and directed residents to remain at home.

And in California, Governor Gavin Newsom says that a million residents of his state have filed for benefits “just since March 13”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that the state has seen 1 million unemployment claims in less than two weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has led to businesses being shut down across the state.

“We just passed the 1 million mark, in terms of the number of claims, just since March 13,” Newsom said.

On Thursday, we will get the latest weekly total for the nation as a whole.

At this point nobody is quite sure what to expect, but most forecasts are ranging between one million and four million

Economists have issued widely varying estimates of Thursday’s jobless claims total based on anecdotal reports by about 40 states to news outlets for the first few days of last week. Goldman Sachs estimated the national count will be about 2.25 million but said it could be as low as slightly more than 1 million. Morgan Stanley reckons about 3.4 million. Oxford Economics says about 4 million.

If we even hit the lowest edge of that range, it will absolutely shatter the old record that was set back in 1982.

Of course similar things are happening all over the world.  Approximately one-third of the entire population of the globe is currently under some sort of a lockdown order, and that means that hundreds of millions of workers are sitting at home not working.

Here in the United States, so many people are already absolutely sick and tired of being idle at home, but the truth is that it looks like this pandemic is just getting started.

In fact, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio believes that more than half of the residents of his city will eventually get the virus

More than half of New York City’s population can expect to be infected by the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Most will suffer only a “mild experience,” but many will become very sick, and “we are going to lose some people,” he said. April will be tough and May tougher before the virus crisis eases, he said. The city has seen 192 deaths so far, and there are more than 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

“The world we knew is gone,” de Blasio said in a social media post. “And it’s not coming back, not for the next few months. That’s the blunt truth.”

If his projection is even close to accurate, that means that we are in for a very, very long battle with COVID-19.

A lot of people out there are still trying to downplay this pandemic, and that is a huge mistake.  The dead bodies are starting to pile up just like we saw in China, Iran and Italy, and already “New York City’s morgues are nearing capacity”

The Department of Homeland Security has been briefed that New York City’s morgues are nearing capacity, according to a department official and a second person familiar with the situation.

Officials were told that morgues in the city are expected to reach capacity next week, per the briefing. A third person familiar with the situation in New York said some of the city’s hospital morgues hit capacity in the past seven days. And a FEMA spokesperson told POLITICO that New York has asked for emergency mortuary assistance. Hawaii and North Carolina have asked for mortuary help as well, and the disaster response agency is currently reviewing the requests, according to the spokesperson.

You may have noticed that I have not said too much about what Congress is doing, and that is because any “stimulus package” is really not going to make that much of a difference.

Congress is not going to be able to make this pandemic go away, and they aren’t going to be able to convince people that are deathly afraid to leave their own homes to go out and spend money normally.

But thanks to Congress there will be a lot more money chasing a rapidly dwindling pool of goods and services in the days ahead, and that will eventually cause very painful inflation.

And if they are going to start handing out giant checks to everyone, they better keep on doing it all throughout this crisis.  Because as Gerald Celente has warned, what we are heading for is “the Greatest Depression”

“People are going to go bankrupt. You are going to see suicide rates increase. You are going to see crime escalate and people OD’ing on drugs because of depression…

Our leaders are totally closing down the economy. Again, this has never been done before. It’s not only Wall Street going down, Main Street went down simultaneously. That is unprecedented. Usually, the markets go down and then the ripple effects start hitting Main Street. This time–boom, they are both down…

It’s going to be worse than the Great Depression. It’s going to be the Greatest Depression.”

Sadly, one element of Celente’s warning is already coming to pass.  It is being reported that calls to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline have risen 300 percent

Isolation and anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic are taking a toll, with calls to a National Suicide Prevention Hotline call center rising 300 percent, KVLY reports.

Other suicide prevention services across the United States also have seen spikes in calls since the COVID-19 virus threw everyday life askew for millions.​​​​​

In this hour, people are going to need hope.

But trying to convince them that this virus does not exist is not giving them hope.

And those that are boldly proclaiming that this virus will magically go away very quickly are only giving people false hope.  When they later realize that they were lied to, that false hope will give way to even deeper depression and despair.

This virus is very real, and we are going to be battling this pandemic for an extended period of time.  But God knew all about this in advance, He is in control, and He will accomplish His purposes.

And God specifically has a plan for you and your family, but you have got to be willing to embrace it.  Your future is likely to look far different than you originally imagined, but with God’s help it can also be far greater than you originally imagined as well.

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.

Unemployment Claims Spike Again As We Get More Scientific Evidence The Middle Class Is Shrinking

Despair And Unemployment - Public Domain

As the U.S. economy slows down, we would expect to start to see evidence of this in the employment numbers, and that is precisely what has begun to happen. During the week before last, initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped by 17,000, which was the largest increase that we had seen in over a year. Well, last week we witnessed an even bigger spike. Seasonally adjusted initial claims shot up 20,000 more to a total of 294,000. Of course it makes perfect sense that more Americans are applying for unemployment benefits, because firms are laying people off at a much faster pace these days. Just a couple days ago I reported that job cut announcements at major firms are running 24 percent higher this year compared to the first four months of last year. So we should fully expect that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits will continue to accelerate.

Personally, I am a bit surprised by how quickly these numbers are getting worse. The following comes directly from the Department of Labor

In the week ending May 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 294,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 274,000. This is the highest level for initial claims since February 28, 2015 when it was 310,000. The 4-week moving average was 268,250, an increase of 10,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 258,000.

For a long time, initial claims for unemployment benefits were running quite low, and this was one of the few bright spots for the U.S. economy.

Unfortunately, that is now changing, and this is just more confirmation that a significant economic slowdown has already started. For many more numbers that back up this claim, please see my previous article entitled “11 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Rapidly Deteriorating Even As The Stock Market Soars“.

But whether the economy has been doing good or bad in recent years, the long-term trend of the decline of the middle class in America has continued unabated.

This week, we got even more evidence that the middle class is steadily disappearing from the Pew Research Center

The American middle class is losing ground in metropolitan areas across the country, affecting communities from Boston to Seattle and from Dallas to Milwaukee. From 2000 to 2014 the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined in a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. The decrease in the middle-class share was often substantial, measuring 6 percentage points or more in 53 metropolitan areas, compared with a 4-point drop nationally.

Do you understand what that is saying?

It says that the middle class got smaller in 203 out of 229 U.S. metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2014. This means that the death of the middle class is very widespread and it is happening all over the country.

But it isn’t just the middle class that is suffering. According to that same report, household incomes have been falling for Americans in all income brackets…

American households in all income tiers experienced a decline in their incomes from 1999 to 2014. Nationally, the median income of middle-income households decreased from $77,898 in 1999 to $72,919 in 2014, a loss of 6%. The median incomes of lower-income and upper-income households fell by 10% and 7%, respectively, over this period.

The systematic evisceration of the middle class has been a continuing theme that I have been writing about for many years. And without a doubt, one of the biggest reasons for the decline of the middle class has been the disappearance of middle class jobs.

Thanks to “free trade agreements” that have been pushed by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the U.S. economy has been steadily merged into the emerging one world economic system. As a result, U.S. workers are now forced to directly compete for jobs with workers on the other side of the planet that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.

It was inevitable that good paying jobs would leave areas where labor was expensive and go to places were labor was very cheap. Over the past couple of decades, the U.S. has seen tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities shut down and we have lost millions of middle class jobs.

One of those middle class jobs was lost by a factory worker named Wendell Nolen

Wendell Nolen, 52, has experienced the slide from middle-class status first-hand. Eight years ago, he was earning $28 an hour as a factory worker for Detroit’s American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings, assembling axles for pickup trucks and SUVs.

But early in 2008, the good life unraveled. After a three-month strike, Nolen took a buyout rather than a pay cut. Less than a year later, the plant was closed and American Axle shipped much of its work to Mexico.

Now Nolen makes $17 an hour in the shipping department of a Detroit steel fabricator, about 40 percent less than he made at the axle plant.

America is losing jobs because of the free trade stuff,’ Nolen said. ‘They’re selling America out.’

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

If you step back and take a longer-term view of things, what has happened to our middle class is abolutely staggering.

For example, one study found that the middle class in America became a minority last year for the first time in our history.

And if you go back to 1970, the middle class took home close to 62 percent of all income, but today that number has dropped to just 43 percent.

This is a problem that has been crying out for a solution for a very long time, and yet our politicians have been sitting on their hands.

Now the next crisis is here, and the plight of the middle class is about to get a whole lot worse.

For months, my regular readers have been listening to me go on and on about how the U.S. economy is deteriorating, but now even the mainstream media is saying it.

For example, a Bloomberg article that just came out admits that “the next president will probably face a recession” no matter who wins the election…

Talk about a poisoned chalice. No matter who is elected to the White House in November, the next president will probably face a recession.

And an article that was just published by CNBC is even more pessimistic about the economy…

We are in the midst of a deceleration in the economy, and the chain of dominoes leading to a recession has started to fall. First, it was a weak global economy. Then, multinationals and business-to-business companies were hit by the resulting decline in global trade and commodity prices. Now, consumers are starting to feel the repercussions as they draw down their growth in spending on discretionary goods and services, which we saw reflected in the first-quarter GDP report.

This is the foreshadowing of a recession. We saw similar indicators prior to recessions in 2001 and 2008. Although there is potential for economic indicators to flip, the current momentum and indicators suggest that the U.S. economy will get worse before it gets better.

This is precisely what I have been saying. The exact same indicators that told us that recessions were coming in 2001 and 2008 have been flashing bright red, but most people don’t seem to understand what is happening.

It doesn’t matter how much faith you may have in Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. None of them can stop what is already in the process of happening.

Without a doubt, we truly are “in the midst of a deceleration in the economy”, and it is most certainly true that “the next president will probably face a recession”.

In fact, we would be exceedingly fortunate if it is just a recession that we will be dealing with.

The largest and most important economy on the planet is teetering on the brink, and it is not going to take much to push us into a full-blown disaster.

So let us hope for some sort of economic miracle to take place, because we could really use one right about now.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

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