Mike Shedlock crystallized the Lockdown Nation catastrophe at hand by focusing on the unemployment claims numbers for Michigan this AM. And it doesn’t get any more transparent than a staggering 25% of the state’s work force already having filed unemployment insurance claims under the existing Federal/State UI program—only to have its computers crash and burn when the normally uninsured gig workers and self-employed tried to file this week for the new Federal $600 per week Covid benefit:
More than 1 million people – over a quarter of Michigan’s workforce – have filed for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s top labor official said Monday.
Last week, Michigan reported more than 828,800 unemployment claims filed in the state from March 8 to April 4. Michigan’s pre-coronavirus record for new unemployment claims occurred during the Great Recession in January 2009, when there were 77,000 claims in a week.
In an embarrassing twist Monday morning, Michigan’s unemployment website crashed — again— but this time just as the head of the state labor department was expected to outline how the state would apply benefits for self-employed workers.
Just hours earlier, the unemployment website announced “self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers can now apply for federal benefits online,” but, when attempting to file, an error message popped up: “This site can’t be reached.”
Likewise, the stunning collapse of the Empire State survey this AM left nothing to the imagination. The negative 78 reading for April was orders of magnitude worse than readings during the Great Recession and the post-dotcom crash.
Likewise, the cliff dive embedded in this morning’s report on March retail sales was way off the charts—with the 8.7% m/m drop posting at more than double the worst reading during the Great Recession.
Moreover, March was only a warm-up: The April numbers will be 2X-3X worse.
In fact, when you look at even the March numbers at the product level, the plunge is even more dramatic. Food and beverage and general merchandise sales were actually up smartly owing to the fact the grocery delivery services, Amazon warehouses and home-cooked meals are out of necessity booming.