The horrid news just keeps on rolling.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The news feels like we are moving ever deeper into an over-the-top dystopian novel. Unfortunately this isn’t fiction.

Another 4 million unemployment claims last week and ongoing attacks on the First Amendment.

About the only job specialty in the country today with bright growth prospects in the near term is trial attorney.

(This post will cross-published on several of my blogs.)

New unemployment claims

4/23/20 – Department of Labor – Unemployment insurance weekly claims – an additional 4,427,000 people filed their initial claim for unemployment in the week ending April 18. Here is another article in case link is dynamic.

This is on top of the four previous weeks of horrible levels of new claims.

Here is a summary of the unreal news. Recap shows number of new claims for unemployment for the last five weeks with a subtotal. The number of people who were unemployed in March is then listed with my estimate of the total unemployment now.

This tally is actually worse because the people who don’t qualify for unemployment of people that can’t get processed through the creaky state systems. Final line is civilian labor force at the end of March according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The second column calculates the number of unemployed as a percentage of the March civilian labor force. This won’t be a overly accurate estimate of the unemployment rate, but it does give a hint at how the unemployment rate is growing.

 

3/21/20         3.3 2.0%
3/28/20         6.9 4.2%
4/4/2020 – released 4/9/20         6.6 4.0%
4/11/20 – released 4/16/20         5.2 3.2%
4/18, released 4/23         4.4 2.7%
 —-  —-
4 week total       26.4 16.0%
unemployed in March         5.7 3.5%
 —-  —-
estimated unemployed       32.1 19.5%
3/20 civilian labor force     164.5

 

My wild guess is the U-3 unemployment rate is something in the neighborhood of 20%. The real number (if it was knowable) is probably higher because of people who cannot be processed through the state systems. The reported rate will probably be far lower because the U-3 unemployment rate (and the U-6 as well) excludes people who have given up looking for work. Who would possibly expect to find a new job in this environment?

4/23/20 – Wall Street Journal – More Than 4.4 Million Americans Sought Unemployment Benefits Last Week – Article says the number of newly unemployed may start growing as people who previously were not eligible for unemployment have only just started filing. This would include self-employed people and gig workers. Apparently people in the category have only started applying in the last week or so and there is a surge of folks in that category.

4/22/20 – Bloomberg – America’s Middle Class Gets Hit With Office Jobs Disappearing – Impact of the rapidly collapsing economy are rolling through the middle class. Large volumes of ‘white collar’ office jobs are getting cut.

Sectors showing drastic drop in job openings from a year earlier include such diverse areas as dental, therapy, legal, architecture, banking, finance, engineers, med techs, and IT.

Article guesses another 4.5 million new claims for unemployment on Thursday. Expectations were close with actual of 4.43 million as reported in the above press release.

Growth industry – litigation

4/22/20 – Wall Street Journal – Coronavirus Contract Disputes Start Hitting the Courts – ace expect a massive wave of lawsuits to hit the courts in the next several months. These will be based on the “force majeure” clause in many contracts that allow canceling in extreme unexpected circumstances. Usually these would include natural disasters, war, rioting, or terrorism.

Real estate purchases, mergers and acquisitions, and major events might be the kinds of things that result in litigation when one side wants out of a contract and the other side does not

Continuing attack on religious freedom

4/20/20 – PJ Media – Legal Battles Over Drive-In Church Service Bans Continue Even After $500 Finds Dropped – A growing number of state or local officials are coming to light who haven’t bothered to read the Constitution.

Article discusses several problematic incidents:

  • Greenville Mississippi (previously discussed here)
  • Chattanooga
  • Ventura county California – County only allows seven people on the property when live streaming (the statewide ban on five-worship services was dropped last week). Under Jewish law 10 adult males must be present for a Torah service to be conducted. I don’t understand the rules because I am not a part of that faith community, but apparently there deeply held religious police do not allow the use of electricity in the Sabbath, so they cannot live stream their worship
  • Louisville Kentucky
  • Maryville Baptist Church, Kentucky (previously discussed here)
  • Riverside County California (previously discussed here along with San Bernardino county)
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