business news in context, analysis with attitude

From the Washington Post:

"More than 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department, a signal that the tidal wave of job losses continues to grow.

"The new total comes on top of 22 million Americans who had sought benefits in previous weeks, overwhelming state processing systems. There is no precedent for the velocity of job losses since March. Economists estimate the national unemployment rate sits somewhere between 15 and 20 percent, much higher than during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009. The unemployment rate at the peak of the Great Depression was around 25 percent."

The Post goes on:  "In the wake of the Great Recession, the number of unemployed - about 15 million - was significantly higher than the number who claimed benefits, and the unemployment rate still peaked at just 10 percent. Economists expect us to blow by that figure when April’s jobs data is released on May 8."

And:  "Hopes for a sharp economic rebound are fading, overtaken by the public fear of going back to restaurants, movie theaters, schools and gym classes. The growing possibility of a 'W'-shaped recovery — in which a resurgence of the virus, or a spike in defaults and bankruptcies, triggers another downturn — has analysts reframing what a reopened or rehabilitated economy might look like."

KC's View:

Hate to say it, but we know this isn't done … it isn't hard to imagine that the unemployment rate will double yet again.

And yet, it seems to me to be important to remember that we have a health crisis, not an economic crisis … and that the economy will right itself when we make breakthroughs in dealing with the pandemic.  An economic resurgence won't happen fast, and won't happen everywhere at the same time.  (One sure bet - it'll happen in the stock market first.)  But it will happen.

The important questions:  What kind of country will we be?  Will we have learned anything from the lessons that a pandemic teaches us?