12 votes

Over ten million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed

8 comments

  1. [2]
    stu2b50
    Link
    From 3% to 10% unemployment in 2 weeks oof

    From 3% to 10% unemployment in 2 weeks

    oof

    8 votes
    1. arghdos
      Link Parent
      Also, the reference week (i.e., the week that they're taking data from) was week of March 12th: you know, before it got really bad. It's going to go up more

      Also, the reference week (i.e., the week that they're taking data from) was week of March 12th:

      Employed persons: All persons who, during the reference week (week including the twelfth day of the month), (a) did any work as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of their family, or (b) were not working but who had jobs from which they were temporarily absent. Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job.

      you know, before it got really bad. It's going to go up more

      6 votes
  2. [6]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    I hear a lot of talk about the economy collapsing, but... what does that mean? What does it imply? Is it about the people, the business sector, the government, or all of the above?

    I hear a lot of talk about the economy collapsing, but... what does that mean? What does it imply? Is it about the people, the business sector, the government, or all of the above?

    1. [5]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [4]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        I see. So it's a matter of suffocation, so to speak: no exchange of "air" (which is money) between the systems that rely on it (in its different state: consumer money, government money, bank...

        I see. So it's a matter of suffocation, so to speak: no exchange of "air" (which is money) between the systems that rely on it (in its different state: consumer money, government money, bank money), leading to stagnation.

        Like a bridge collapsing, the economy has suffered permanent damage, and though it could be rebuilt, it would take time and resources. Would that be about right for a metaphor?

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            Excellent. Thank you for a clean write-up. I do have one question, though. You mentioned accruing debt by the state so that state support does not see issues for a long time. How deep is the well...

            Excellent. Thank you for a clean write-up.

            I do have one question, though. You mentioned accruing debt by the state so that state support does not see issues for a long time. How deep is the well these countries can drain from? The US currently sits at $23T, which is an astonishing figure.

            1 vote
            1. stu2b50
              Link Parent
              In times of volatility and panic, US Treasury interest rates drop like a rock. Right now the government is borrowing money at almost 0% interest. It might seriously drop to 0 soon. Just safe...

              In times of volatility and panic, US Treasury interest rates drop like a rock. Right now the government is borrowing money at almost 0% interest. It might seriously drop to 0 soon. Just safe keeping their money, even with inflation eating away at it, is worth it to investors right now.

              So a pretty long time.

              2 votes
        2. skybrian
          Link Parent
          I'm not sure these metaphors work all that well. I think it's important to distinguish physical damage from financial damage because financial damage is so much easier to fix (in theory, putting...

          I'm not sure these metaphors work all that well. I think it's important to distinguish physical damage from financial damage because financial damage is so much easier to fix (in theory, putting political difficulty aside), and it's important to fix it before it becomes physical damage.

          Not being able to buy something that you really need is how financial damage becomes physical damage. At the limit, this happens if you have no savings and no credit, but it can be a problem much earlier due to justified wariness about financial risk. It can be a problem for people (unable to buy food, reluctant to get medical care). It can also be a problem for institutions. (Many hospitals in the US have shaky finances.)

          Ideally all US hospitals would be so well financially supported, at least for emergency situations, that they wouldn't worry much about how to pay staff or buy whatever they need for the pandemic. There wouldn't be laws against price-gouging and the hospitals with the most need would just outbid everyone else because their work is more important and they need it today. Unfortunately this is not how things are, and so the response depends a lot on command-and-control, and supplies are sometimes being shipped in the wrong direction, depending on how coordinated and on-the-ball government bureaucrats are and how the politics works out.

          Money is much easier to replace than a bridge, let alone a life. It should be possible to do it very quickly, but unfortunately there are only certain government institutions that can do it, and they have to be willing. Central banks can buy all sorts of stuff, resulting in payments continuing as normal for many investors. Lost income can also be made up with big government checks. (I don't think the recent stimulus was enough, but the US Congress could pass another law.)

          Note that state governments are much more financially constrained. They don't have the federal government's enormous ability to borrow at a near-zero interest rate. Unfortunately, many states are constitutionally required not to run a deficit, and now we might learn why that's bad. Hopefully the federal government will bail them out in time.

          I also think there are people who would be more willing to help out financially if there were less confusion about what would be effective. (I mean, GiveWell is great but they concentrate on long-term problems solved with international aid.)

          In the US at least, a new bridge is usually better than the old bridge, but in the meantime it's an inconvenience. (I have actually lived through this, and moved away before the bridge was replaced.)

          3 votes
    2. Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      It's about practically everything physical really. For social distancing to work all physical contact needs to stop, so all activities that can't be done without physical contact are halted....

      It's about practically everything physical really.

      For social distancing to work all physical contact needs to stop, so all activities that can't be done without physical contact are halted.

      Really the problem is that self-sufficiency needed for true social distancing isn't really possible or practical and welfare that helps people shut themselves in is smeared.

      It's more like a freezing rather than collapse of the economy since all of the labor lost can stiil be done but it's not because otherwise people will die.

      4 votes