Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Twin Towers of Pain: Part Three

The U.S. death total from COVID-19 continues to grow rapidly and now exceeds 55,000, up from 33,000 ten days ago, a 66 percent increase. The world total is now above 210,000, but the U.S. keeps its position of being a quarter of the deaths. It is also substantially ahead of each of the next most effected states: Italy (26,977), Spain (23,321), France (23,293) and the UK (21,092).

With the latest unemployment claims of 4.4 million, the total now stands at 26.5 million. Economists believe that would translate today into about 16 percent unemployment rate. It exceeds the 22.4 million jobs created since the end of the last recession. Not surprising, we are beyond the unemployment impact of the 2008-09 Great Recession, which hit 10 percent with 9 million unemployed. It clearly exceeds the last downturn and brings to mind the 25 percent rate during the early 1930s. Many of these are temporary layoffs and may be re-employed quickly after the shutdown recedes, but the speed and depth was a shock to most economists and their historic models.

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