Credit: Photo / Paul Sancya
(CNN) – When each day feels vaguely similar, it can be difficult to withdraw and see the magnitude of what happened.
What happened is that in less than six months, more than 1.2 million Americans have been infected with a disease and more than 75,000 have died.RELATED
But that is only half the story.
There is also the social distance turnstile, which is starving the United States economy and led more than 33 million Americans, 10% of the entire population of the country and about 20% of its workforce, to request help for unemployment in less than two months.
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in the U.S. 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, the biggest month of job losses since monitoring began in 1939. The unemployment rate is now 14.7%, the highest since BLS began recording the monthly rate in 1948. The last time American unemployment was so severe occurred during the Great Depression: the unemployment rate reached 24.9% in 1933, according to BLS annual historical estimates.
Everything has happened very fast.
JANUARY 2, 2020, THE DOW CLOSED AT – 28,828.8
DECEMBER UNEMPLOYMENT RATE – 3.5%
KNOWN INFECTIONS IN THE USA – 0
KNOWN DEATHS IN THE USA – 0
At the beginning of the year, there were no cases of coronavirus in the US. and the unemployment rate was below 4%
Covid-19 is discovered. The Chinese government confirmed the new disease on January 7.
The first known case on U.S. soil was confirmed on January 21, 10 days before the Trump administration announced it would deny entry to the United States to foreign nationals who had recently traveled to China.
FEBRUARY 6, 2020, THE DOW CLOSED AT – 28,828.8
JANUARY UNEMPLOYMENT RATE – 3.6%
KNOWN INFECTIONS IN THE USA – 12
KNOWN DEATHS IN THE USA – 0
A 57-year-old woman in California became the first victim on American soil. He had not recently traveled to Europe. The disease was here, but we did not know the extent of it. However, the cruise outbreaks, the spread to Asia and the quarantine of cities in Italy should have been warnings.
The Dow reaches a record high on February 12. President Donald Trump reacted to criticism of a slow response to the virus and put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of a new task force. Markets are beginning to shake.
MARCH 2, 2020, THE DOW CLOSED AT – 26,703 (-2848 from record high)
FEBRUARY UNEMPLOYMENT RATE – 3.5%
KNOWN INFECTIONS IN THE USA – 102
KNOWN DEATHS IN THE USA – 6
In the week ending March 14, a relatively normal number of 282,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits for the first time.
Confinement begins. A week later, most US schools They had closed their doors, everyone who could avoid going to work was told to stay home and the new reality of covid-19 had closed much of the United States.
Millions lose jobs. In the week ending March 21, 3.3 million Americans applied for benefits for the first time, a staggering number that more than doubled a week later.
By the time April began, more than 10 million Americans had filed a new unemployment application.
The government tries to help. Congress passed and Trump signed two separate stimulus packages that designated trillions of dollars to help Americans without jobs and disadvantaged businesses. But it’s not enough.
The virus explodes. Infections went from about 100 to tens of thousands in a month, and deaths multiplied.
APRIL 1, 2020, THE DOW CLOSED AT – 20,943
MARCH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE – 4.4%
KNOWN INFECTIONS IN THE USA – More than 212,692
KNOWN DEATHS IN THE USA – More than 4,780
FIRST TIME UNEMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS – More than 10 million in March
The market stabilizes, but many millions more are unemployed. The infection continued to multiply and multiply. Another 20 million Americans applied for new unemployment aid during the month.
The number of deaths increases. More people died of coronavirus in the US in several months than the number of Americans during the war of more than a decade in Vietnam.
The virus is not reduced. Despite the fact that the infection curve had not decreased in most of the United States, a violent reaction to social distancing led governors to move towards reopening parts of the country.
MAY 7, 2020, THE DOW CLOSED AT – 23,976
APRIL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE – ~ 16%
KNOWN INFECTIONS IN THE USA – More than 1.2 million
KNOWN DEATHS IN THE USA – More than 75,000
FIRST TIME UNEMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS – More than 20 million in April
Analysts forecast an unemployment rate between 10% and 22% when new unemployment data is released on Friday. But that still won’t factor in nearly 10 million new jobless claims in the second half of April, as previously reflected.
As states begin to reopen their economies even as the virus continues to grow at new hot spots outside of urban centers, it is clear that reported infections are below the true number of infections.
And what changed society so quickly in a few months now seems to take years to fix.
The strike is hitting affordable department stores like JC Penney, plus exclusive retailers J. Crew and Neiman Marcus, which have filed for bankruptcy.
The restaurant, travel and tourism sector was largely halted.
The virus also uncovered some uncomfortable realities in American society. A driver of the recession is the loss of health care spending. Disruption of elective procedures and hospital visits has hurt American healthcare providers, nurses, and doctors when citizens need more healthcare.
How to see this horrible data: Is it time to compare this to the Great Depression?
Last month I asked David Wessel, director of the Brookings Institution’s Hutchins Center for Fiscal and Monetary Policy, a series of questions on how to view this incredibly grim economic information.
Since then, things have gotten much worse.
Tens of millions of Americans have filed new unemployment claims.
Congress is discussing a fourth stimulus package.
Several states are beginning to reopen despite failing to comply with White House guidelines to contain the virus.
So I went back to Wessel for an update. Your new concern about a presidential transition is not something I have considered.
ZW: How did your assessment of what is happening transform last month?
DW: In the last month, I realized how long it will take for the economy to recover. We know that the second quarter will be horrible, but I’m not sure how big the rebound will be in the third quarter: how gradually will the closings end? Will people be reluctant to buy and travel on the subway? Will the virus decrease and then return? This is going to be a long journey.
ZW: A month ago you were optimistic that the government was working quickly to do what it could for the economy. Do you still feel that way?
DW: The government acted quickly, but now Congress appears to have returned to the partisan stalemate that threatens to delay, among other things, the help that the state and local government desperately need to avoid laying off workers and restricting public services.
ZW: At what point is it appropriate to start comparing this to the Great Depression?
DW: Comparisons are useful, but they require perspective.
The depth of the recession will rival the worst quarters of the Great Depression. But the combination of sensible public health measures and prudent fiscal and monetary policies can accelerate and strengthen recovery. We don’t have to relive the 1930s and with good policies we don’t have to.
I have a new concern. The transition from Hoover to Roosevelt after the [elección] 1932 was bad. Inauguration day didn’t come until March back then, and things got really bad between November 1932 and March 1933. If Joe Biden wins the November 2020 election, I hope the transition from one president to another does not. make things worse than it is.
What was the Great Depression really like?
CNN’s John Blake went to the definitive oral history of the Great Depression, compiled by Studs Terkel, and has reprinted part of it.
The treat was a pound of hamburger: Robert Card said he went to college wearing a suit, tie, pair of shoes and $ 30 borrowed from a bank. He called the Depression a “painful” but “glorious” moment because it forced the United States to face longstanding problems of poverty.
It was a pleasure to buy a pound of hamburger, which you bought for about five cents, take it to the Union Pacific railroad tracks, and eat outside. Have an excellent conversation. And maybe swim in the Kaw River.
A friend of mine had an old 1919 Ford Model T sedan. He had this thing set up like a house. He lived in it all year. He cooked, slept, and studied inside that Ford Model T sedan. How he managed I will never know. I once went to dinner there. He cooked really well on a little stove that he had on this thing.
Worse since 1706
Locally the size and scale of this coup, the Bank of England has said that the UK is heading for its worst economic impact from gross domestic product since 1706. I’m not exactly sure how this economy compares to that, but in terms of GDP, this looks worse than:
The American Revolution
The great Depression
Both World Wars
A Trump aide has covid-19 – In other news evoking outdated ideas and terms, an aide to President Trump tested positive for coronavirus.
This is a big problem, since it puts the covid-19 in direct proximity to Trump, who has a dislike for the mask. The person was close to the President as recently as Wednesday.
If you’re more visual, I really like this cover of Time magazine, which puts a lot of the data we’ve been discussing in one place. This period will certainly, in retrospect, be known as something. Will it be The Great Reckoning? (something like “The great calculation”).