It goes without saying that the disaster of Lockdown Nation has been greatly (and temporarily) ameliorated by the unsustainable surge in UI benefits, helicopter money, PPP handouts and the rest of the free stuff on offer from Washington’s bipartisan soup-lines.
For instance, at the spring-summer peak the combined Federal/state unemployment insurance (UI) disbursements (including the various pandemic assistance programs) were running in excess of $25 billion per week (dark line) compared to a pre-Covid level of hardly $1 billion. Obviously, a 25X shot in the arm does make a difference.
With the expiration of Uncle Sam’s $600 per week dole-topper, however, the UI injection has tumbled to $10 billion per week. That sharp reduction, of course, is already beginning to impact spending levels among the nearly 28 million workers still on Federal/state U programs, nearly 75% of whom were collecting larger UI checks than work checks prior to the expiration of the $600 per week Federal topper.