April 3, 2020
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its March jobs report this morning.
As expected, the news is dismal.
The unemployment rate increased by .9%, the biggest one month drop since 1975. The unemployment rate now stands at 4.4%. The labor force participation rate decreased to only 62.7%. That’s a measure of the portion of the population who consider themselves employable. It’s been hanging at 1970’s levels since 2008.
Hardest hit occupation are food and drink services, accounting for about two thirds of the job losses. Other leading job loss occupations are in health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is predicting a 7% decline in GDP during the months of April May and June and a 10% unemployment rate. GDP is a measure of buying and selling, closely related to the wealth of and economy.
Influential investment adviser Jim Rogers is quoted in Yahoo Finance as saying “I expect in the next couple of years we’re going to have the worst bear market in my lifetime” A bear market is one that is depressed and inactive.
Noted economic historian John Steele Gordon lays out how the post COVID-19 economy might look in Forget About Returning To Jobs As Usual After Coronavirus today at the New York Post.
Add theaters to the list of economic casualties. Last week US box office receipts were $5000; the same week a year ago the figure was $200 million.
The auto industry is on the list of threatened industries. Volkswagen, Honda, Hyundai, and Mazda each reported a more than 40 per cent decline in U.S. sales last month. A new “Cash for Clunkers” scheme is being pushed to bailout the auto industry. Like the original Obama era plan, the government issues rebates to new car buyers trading inexpensive and easy to repair older cars average workers depend upon.
- The mortgage industry is projecting a 30% default rate. Look a wave of 2008-like delinquencies and repossessions.
- The much touted small business lending program that aims to support jobs is crashing even before it launches.
- American Airlines is abandoning overseas flights; Boeing is permanently cutting jobs and offering buyouts to long time employees.
The food service industry is on the forefront of devastating change. Here’s an article form Fast Casual, the industry association, on permanent changes in the way we will gather, eat and recreate.
Here’s a view from local politicians in Florida on how the COVID-19 crisis will affect working class communities.
But politicians are also looking to shield themselves from public scrutiny:
- The league of California Cities is asking Governor Newsom to soften constitutionally mandated transparency laws.
- The same is true for the health care industry. They are firing doctors and nurses for revealing working conditions to the public.
- Courts are now ordering what amounts to in home imprisonment to people caught in public against medical advice.
Google is now assisting in the slide towards authoritarianism. They are publishing locating data of people in 131 counties revealing visits to public places. For now, the data is anonymous, but technology companies are increasingly cozying up to the police.
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