Tuesday, August 11, 2020

No help for the unemployed means a double-dipper is getting more likely

While nothing occurs on the unemployment front, as the meaningless unfunded burden of Trump's statements is shown to be as pointless as you thought, we have an article from Five Thirty Eight where economists warn that no action in the next couple of weeks likely guarantees that our hard times will get even harder.
A sudden uptick in food insecurity. A wave of evictions. People spending less money at shops and restaurants. More job losses.

According to leading economists, that’s what’s likely in store for the U.S. economy this year if Congress doesn’t renew any of the $600-per-week supplementary payment for unemployed workers by Sept. 1. Lawmakers have known for months that the payment was slated to expire at the end of July, but that deadline came and went. Now, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are still deadlocked over how much aid jobless workers should be receiving. Over the weekend, President Trump issued an executive order giving unemployed Americans a $400-per-week boost, but critics have questioned its legal and logistical viability.

According to the latest installment of our regular survey of quantitative macroeconomic economists,1 conducted in partnership with the Initiative on Global Markets at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the 32 economists in our survey collectively thought that not renewing the payment by Sept. 1 would make it 75 percent more likely2 that there would be a decline in personal consumption. They think plenty of other bad scenarios are more likely to occur, as well:

This would likely lead to a cascading effect that at best would limit the recovery from the record losses of jobs and economic activity that we had in March and April, and could well mean a double-dip recession and an even longer slog back.

If Congress and President Trump refuse to act, the surveyed economists say our unemployment rate will stay at the high levels they are at for the rest of this year.
Overall, the survey indicated that even though the economists think it’s likely that the economy will continue to improve over the course of the year, they still don’t foresee a swift recovery for 2020. (The most recent monthly jobs report, released on Friday, suggested the same.) The economists’ consensus prediction was that the unemployment rate for August would be 10.1 percent, which would be essentially unchanged from July. They predicted a similarly minuscule drop for September, to just over 10 percent. And although the group anticipated that the unemployment rate will dip to 9.6 percent in December, the consensus forecast’s 10th percentile prediction was 7.8 percent and its 90th percentile prediction was 12.6 percent — emphasizing that there’s still a fair amount of uncertainty about what will happen over the course of the year, and how that will affect employment.
Can't think that continuing with 10% unemployment would help any Republicans running for office this November, up to and including the president of the United States. Which makes it all the more mysterious as to why they don't seem to be wanting to keep stimulus pumping out and get that unemployment rate to keep going down.

The Five Thirty Eight article closes with these statements from a former professor of mine.
So while the July jobs report might have seemed, on the surface, to deliver good news, the survey makes clear that there is plenty that could keep us in the economic doldrums for the foreseeable future — particularly if Congress doesn’t act at some point soon. Menzie Chinn, an economist at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, said the July jobs report only confirmed his suspicion that the economic recovery was starting to plateau. Now, he thinks a W-shaped recovery — where the economy improves somewhat, only to crash again — is still possible, and “a stall is more and more likely.”
The time is ticking away and the bills are looming for a lot of Americans that are going to face a cutoff of resources and protections. And a whole lot of people don't seem to either be paying attention, or caring.

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