Several months, or was it years ago; when the coronavirus began its spread across the U.S., several bullish economists were predicting a “V-shaped” recovery, meaning the expected economic recession would be deep but short-lived. The subsequent bounce-back would be extremely strong so that the 2020 recession would be a mere blip on the chart. That consensus opinion was quickly replaced by talk of a “U-shaped” or even an “L-shaped” recovery, with the economy reeling for months if not years, as the number of deaths escalated along with the unemployment filings as the U.S. economy remained shut down.
Now it’s starting to appear that maybe the doomsayers were a bit too hasty in their gloomy prognostications. While it’s far too early to predict how things will eventually play out, the V-shaped recovery may actually be a more likely outcome than the more pessimistic scenarios. Certainly, the most recent economic reports, from both the government and the private sector, are already showing a nascent rebound even as many key states – like New York, California, and Illinois – remain largely in lockdown mode and only recently started to open up. At the same time, some previous forecasts are being shown to have been overly bearish.
Probably the biggest surprise to the upside was last Friday’s May employment report, which showed the economy adding 2.5 million jobs, a far cry from the consensus forecast of a loss of 7.7 million, and April’s loss of nearly 21 million jobs. “These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the Labor Department said. Continue reading "Is The V-Shaped Recovery Back On?"
The Gold Report: In honor of Labor Day, let's discuss unemployment. You estimated that when all workers are counted, the unemployment rate in July was 23% compared to the government's reported rate of 5.4%. What is different about the job market today than before the recession?
John Williams: In a normal economic recovery, people who have lost their jobs start working again as the economy improves. That hasn't happened this time, at least not to the extent suggested by a 5.4% unemployment rate (U3), where the government's headline definition of "unemployed" is quite narrow. To be counted among the headline unemployed, you have to be out of work and actively to have looked for work in the last four weeks. If you want a job, but have given up looking, the government counts you as a "discouraged worker" or "marginally attached worker" and you don't show up in the headline number.
If you haven't looked for work in more than a year, even if you would like to work, then the government just doesn't count you in even its broadest measure of unemployment (U6); you just disappear from any of the unemployment measures. As a result, when the government says that 200,000 fewer people are unemployed in a month, and the headline unemployment rate drops, often there isn't an increase of 200,000 people who are re-employed. They just have been defined out of existence. My broad unemployment estimate includes those no longer tracked by the government, those who cannot find a job, who have given up looking for work for more than a year because nothing is available, yet they still would like to find a job, even though they may be doing other thingslike taking care of grandkids. That broader unemployment number is around 23%.
TGR: Have the types of jobs changed? Are we seeing fewer jobs in manufacturing and finance now than there were before? Are there other areas that are growing, like technology and service jobs? Continue reading "Could A President Trump Put People Back To Work And Help The Dollar?"
The recession that ended three years ago this summer has been followed by the feeblest economic recovery since the Great Depression.
Since World War II, 10 U.S. recessions have been followed by a recovery that lasted at least three years. An Associated Press analysis shows that by just about any measure, the one that began in June 2009 is the weakest.
The ugliness goes well beyond unemployment, which at 8.3 percent is the highest this long after a recession ended. Continue reading "US economic recovery is weakest since World War II"