Coronavirus Health Crisis Now An Economic Depression in the United States and Globally

May 28th, 2020 Comments off

 

A milestone of misery has just been reached in the United States. The Covid-19 pandemic has now claimed more than 100,000 lives in the U.S., and the country’s Labor Department has issued a weekly jobs report showing another 2.1 million Americans have filed jobless claims. This means that in the last 10 weeks, more than 40 million American workers have lost their jobs.

In addition to the above grim statistics, the U.S. Q1 economic report has been revised, showing a higher level of economic contraction of negative 5%. However, this is a mere harbinger of what is to come. The Q2 economic report is forecast by several experts to reveal a contraction of between 20 and 40 percent.

The bad economic news in America is being replicated globally. Virtually every major economy has witnessed an economic shutdown based  on combating the coronavirus. The result has been economic suicide in numerous countries. We are clearly already in a severe recession, far worse than the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09. Increasingly, we are entering a global economic depression, the Global  Economic Crisis of the 2020s.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Warns U.S. Economy May Contact By 30 Percent

May 18th, 2020 Comments off

In an interview with the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes, the Fed Chairman warned that the American economy could “easily” contract by 30 % in the current quarter. He also told the interviewer that the U.S. unemployment rate could peak at 25 %.Though the Fed chairman tried to put a positive spin on his message, using such rhetorical phrases as his “never bet against the American economy,” the reality Powell presented minus the spin was anything but rosy.

Even the Fed chairman’s prediction that economic growth would resume in the second half of 2020 was conditioned by developments on the health front, and that a full economic recovery required the development of an effective Covid-19 vaccine.

The Federal Reserve is clearly worried about a full-blown depression, a prospect that is increasingly likely. In fact, there is a growing consensus that a possible short-term recovery will be followed b y a sustained economic depression, transforming the global health crisis engendered by the coronavirus into the Global Economic Crisis of the 1920s.

 

Global Risk Expert Ian Bremmer States World Economic Crisis Has Reached Initial Stage of a Depression

May 12th, 2020 Comments off

Political scientist and noted global risk expert Ian Bremmer, who is president of the consultancy firm Eurasia Group, in a recent podcast indicated that in his view the world is now headed into a severe economic depression. He indicated in his podcast that while a uniform  formal definition  of an economic depression does not actually exist, the statistics of economic destruction emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic exceed the parameters of a recession.

Ian Bremmer pointed out in his podcast that a technical recession is defined as two quarters of consecutive negative economic growth. A depression would mirror the coronavirus  pandemic in that it has far greater depth and duration than a normal event. The global health emergency generated b y Covid-19  has resulted in a level of economic shutdown and contraction throughout  the world that far exceeds the formal definition  of a technical recession.

Though there is resistance at the early stages of this new Global Economic Crisis to label it a depression, Bremmer points out that there was also hesitation  towards labeling the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic in its early phases. The noted political scientist is convinced that we are entering the first  new economic depression in nearly one hundred years. Ian Bremmer also believes the world of the 21st century is stronger financially and economically than was the case with the Great Depression of the 1930s. This is the only positive insight he offered, in what was otherwise a prediction of economic doom and gloom.

U.S. Job Losses Top 33 Million In Just Seven Weeks

May 8th, 2020 Comments off

The just-released U.S. Labor Department report shows an addition 3.17 million American workers filed jobless claims in just the past week. This means that in a period of only seven weeks the U.S. shed 33.5 million jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The employment picture in the United States is utterly dismal, with no end in sight to the contraction of employment numbers. Though there is wishful thinking on “reopening” the American economy, the reality on the ground shows freefall economic collapse engendered by a health crisis, with no short-term-term solution in sight, except continuation of the slowdown of economic activity.

The news from Europe is equally dire. The Bank of England is forecasting that the UK economy will contract in 2020 due to shutting down economic activity in response to  the coronavirus by  14 percent. According to the Bank of England, this is the nation’s worst economic contraction in three hundred years. In the Eurozone officials forecast a rate of quarterly economic contraction of 7.5 percent.

A global recession  is already underway, at an intensity far beyond that of the 2007-09 Global Financial Crisis. The current Global Economic Crisis created by Covid-19 suggests that a severe global depression is an increasingly likely prospect for the world.

U.S. Economy in Freefall As Jobless Claims Exceed 30 Million and GDP Plummets

April 30th, 2020 Comments off

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released its report on GDP growth for Q 1 of 2020. The numbers were dismal, negative 4.8 percent. Though this was the worst decline experienced by the American economy since 2008, at the height of the Global Financial crisis, it was merely a harbinger of much worse to come. It must be recognized that the impact of the demand destruction inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic only began to emerge in the last two weeks of Q1.

A more telling pointer of whist to expect in Q2 was the latest jobless claims report issued by the U.S. Labor Department. According  to the report, an additional  3.8 million American workers filed unemployment claims. Cumulatively, this means that during the past 6-weeks more than  30 million U.S. workers have filed jobless claims. In other words, over a period of only six weeks, the U.S. unemployment rate has skyrocketed from 3.5 percent to more than 18 percent. This is an unprecedented rate of accelerated employment contraction. Not even during the Great Depression has the American economy witnessed such appalling statistics.

The collapse of the job market in the United States brings with it a radical contraction in aggregate demand. This would point to the Q2 report showing that, at a minimum, the nation’s GDP will  shrink by more than 20 percent, and possibly as high as 40 percent.

The collapse of the world’s largest economy at unprecedented velocity is only a reflection of a global economic implosion. The Global Economic Crisis will linger after the health crisis  created by the coronavirus has receded. This is indeed the Great Depression of the 21st century.

Leading Economist Predicts Great Depression in the 1920s; COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Negative Economic Forces, Unleashing Next Global Economic Crisis

April 29th, 2020 Comments off

In a startling forecast published in Project Syndicate entitled, “The Coming Greater Depression of the 1920s,” NYU economics professor Nouriel Roubini outlines ten negative trends that ensure the inevitability of a full-fledge economic depression sometime during the current decade. Professor Roubini achieved notoriety for predicting with uncanny accuracy the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09.

Roubini points out that even prior to the coronavirus pandemic there were downside trends involving structural issues left over from the financial crisis of 2007-09, coupled with deglobalization and the balkanization of supply chains, decoupling between China and the United States and other geopolitical rivalries, and environmental factors  such as climate change. What the COVID-19 pandemic has done is accelerate and magnify those negative trends, which already  have created a perfect storm, leading to a “greater depression” later on in the present decade.

The current economic crisis created by the coronavirus will bring about a severe, U shaped recession, which moist economists now believe will exceed the 2007-09 Global Financial Crisis in  severity. There will be no V shaped recovery, in Roubini’s view. The most chilling aspect of Professor Roubini’s forecast is that even if the COVID-19 enabled recession eventually has a U-shaped recovery, it will only be temporary, with a 21st century Great Depression to follow in its wake, making the 1920s  a time of Global Economic Crisis, with prospects of recovery being differed until the 1930s, all predicated on new technologies and the emergence of more competent political leadership.

Oil Price In Free Fall Collapse As Energy Sector Implodes

April 23rd, 2020 Comments off

The demand destruction created by policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the collapse of oil prices, and the decimation of the energy industry. No better example illustrates this than the April 20 data for next month’s delivery, in which prices went to zero per barrel and even negative, with WTI (West Texas Intermediate) going to minus $30 per barrel. This surreal price discovery was brought about by a combination of demand destruction in the economy, combined with a lack of storage capacity for oil, leading to producers paying consumers to take their oil.

The implosion in oil prices has occurred in spite of the truce in the oil price war recklessly unleashed by Russia and Saudi Arabia right at the beginning of major global recession. The cut in production by three million barrels a day by OPEC and Russia is statistically insignificant, given that the coronavirus has shuttered much of the world’s economy, leading to a fall in consumption of more than 20 million barrels per day.

The hope that  oil prices may recover latter this years is based on a flimsy premise that there will be an economic recovery by year’s end. This looks increasingly unlikely, and the probability of a second wave of Covid-19 will continue to depress industrial and transportation activity that typically consume most oil production. Short of a war in the Middle East that would shut down the Strait of Hormuz, oil prices are likely to remain depressed for the foreseeable future, crippling much of the energy industry and confronting a multitude of oil producers, especially shale oil companies in the United States, with increasingly inevitable bankruptcy.

What is occurring in the  energy sector is a reflection and indication that the Global Economic Crisis unleashed by Covid-19 will not only exceed the financial crisis of 2007-09 in its severity; it is increasingly likely to rival the Great Depression of the 1930s in its ruinous impact.

 

International Monetary Fund (IMF)Warns Covid-19 Health Crisis Sending Global Economy Into Greatest Collapse Since the Great Depression

April 17th, 2020 Comments off

The IMF has issued a chilling forecast in its just released 2020 World Economic Outlook. According to the report, the world will experience its sharpest downturn in economic activity since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Though the report is projecting a modest recovery in 2021, this is sheer guesswork, as nobody has any idea of the future progression of the health crisis precipitated by the coronavirus.

Dire news emerged from the world’s largest economy in the wake of the sobering IMF report. The Census Bureau reported that retail sales in the United States fell by a staggering 8.7 % in March; this was the steepest decline since the Census Bureau began tracking this data in 1992.

On April 16 the U.S. Labor Department issued its weekly jobless claims report , more than 5.2 million American workers filed new unemployment claims. In a period of only 3-weeks, more than 22 million workers joined the ranks of the unemployed. This eliminates all the employment gains in the American economy over the past decade. And this all occurred in only three-weeks.

Economic and employment data from many other economies, developed and emerging, was equally dismal. This all validates the growing consensus among economists that the global economic crisis created by the unprecedented demand and employment destruction sparked by the covid-19 pandemic will be far worse than the global financial crisis of 2007-08, and may very well rival the Great Depression of the 1930s in its severity.

The New York Times Warns In Editorial That The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Will Get “Much Worse”

April 14th, 2020 Comments off

In its editorial of April 14, 2020, which The New York Times entitled “The Global Coronavirus Crisis Is Poised to Get Much, Much Worse,” it was pointed out that while Covid-19 is currently ravaging primarily the wealthier nations of the northern hemisphere, it will soon strike the impoverished nations of the Third World.

In its editorial, The New York Times states the following:

 

 

What probably lies ahead is the spread of the coronavirus through countries ravaged by conflict, through packed refugee camps  and detention centers in places like Syria or Bangladesh, through teeming cities like Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro or Monrovia, where social distancing is impossible and government is not trusted, through countries without the fiscal capacity or health services to mount a viable response.

That would be disastrous not only for them but also for the rest of the world as supplies of raw materials are disrupted, fragile economies collapse, strongmen grow stronger and the virus doubles back to reinfect northern regions.

 

 

 

This is a nightmare scenario, but one not only plausible, but actually highly probable. The form of the human misery that will afflict poorer nations in this next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic will worsen the global economic crisis that has been unleashed by the coronavirus.

Should the pandemic lead to a collapse of medical systems and economies throughout the Third World, a likely result will be an unprecedented wave of Covid-19 refugees seeking perceived safer havens of developed economies, which themselves will be ill-prepared for the consequences of such radical population movements. This will further exacerbate-and lengthen- the extent and severity of what is both a massive global health crisis and increasingly a devastating global economic tsunami.

U.S. Unemployment Rate Continues to Skyrocket As Economic Crisis Induced By Covid-19 Pandemic Devastates Global Economy

April 9th, 2020 Comments off

 

The U.S. Labor Department just released its weekly number of jobless claims, and in a mocking twist of painful irony, the figures were an exact match for the previous week: 6.6. million additional jobless applications. This means that over the past three weeks, 16 million Americans have filed unemployment claims, adding another 10 percent to the unemployment rate in the United States, which now stands at just under 14%.

Never in history, not even during the Great Depression of the 1930s, has there been such a rapid rise in unemployment. The collapse of the job market in the U.S. has been replicated in virtually every advanced economy. This means that the health crisis created by policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic has now unleashed a destructive global economic crisis of unparalleled dimensions. And this is only the beginning. In the weeks ahead, the economic news will only get worse.

Such a swift collapse in employment numbers mean two simultaneous tsunamis of economic doom have been unleashed: an unprecedented rate of demand destruction, combined with an implosion in governmental revenues across the globe. The latter trend, at a time of increasingly vast deficit spending by sovereigns, will in due course unleash another wave of economic calamity; a sovereign debt crisis.

Never before in human history has a public health crisis created in its wake such economic calamity, resulting in the Global Economic Crisis of 2020.