Catastrophic unemployment and large-scale crisis: how a pandemic affects the economy of the United States and the world
Coronavirus, spread from China, has already infected more than 300 people in the world. However, the spread of the disease has also extremely seriously affected the economies of different countries around the world, writes Air force. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has already announced that the global economy will need many years to recover from a pandemic.
Secretary General of the organization Angel Gurria told the BBC that already now the economic consequences of the spread of the disease are more than just a financial crisis. Believing that the affected countries will be able to quickly restore their economies is “wishful thinking,” he said.
Global stock markets under attack
Changes in the stock markets where companies buy and sell stocks affect not only the companies themselves and traders. They affect investments, as well as pension and other savings in many countries, because, for example, pension funds often invest clients' money in securities.
All major indexes of the world's leading stock exchanges in Japan, the UK and the US have fallen significantly since the disease began to spread at the end of last year.
Since the start of the new year, the FTSE is down 34,1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 31,1%, and the Nikkei is down 28,7%.
At the same time, the American Dow Jones and the British FTSE experienced a record drop in more than 30 years - since 1987.
These numbers mean: investors are afraid that the spread of coronavirus will halt the growth of the economy, and that government action will be insufficient to prevent the spread of the disease.
In response, central banks in many countries began to cut interest rates to make money cheaper and borrowing more affordable. In theory, this will also support consumer demand.
Among those who went to lower interest rates, the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.
Tourism on the verge of collapse
With thousands of canceled flights, business trips and vacations, the tourism industry has suffered huge losses.
Governments around the world have banned travel to contain the spread of the virus.
The EU has closed its external borders for 30 days to all who are not citizens of the member states. This is an unprecedented move.
In the United States imposed restrictions on air traffic with Europe.
In Britain, it is estimated that 2018 tourists from China visited the country in the year from September 2019 to September 415. According to VisitBritain, Chinese tourists typically spent three times the average per trip. Their “average check” in Britain was £ 000.
Fear of contracting coronavirus and government calls to stay home have disastrous consequences for the hotel and restaurant business.
According to OpenTable, in the middle of March this year, compared to the same period last year, bookings almost stopped. In Canada, 94% of bookings were canceled, in Germany - 90%, in the UK - 82%, USA - 84%.
Chinese enterprises do not work
In China, where the coronavirus spread around the world, production has been falling since the beginning of the year.
But it is worth remembering: China produces one third of all goods in the world and is the largest global exporter.
The slowdown in the Chinese economy can even be seen from space.
The American space agency NASA said that satellite observations of atmospheric pollution indicate a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide content over China. “At least in part,” scientists say, this is due to the significant slowdown in the economy due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The production stop has hit the supply chains of a number of global giants.
"Safe" investments in question, oil is falling
During every crisis, investors prefer safe assets. Among them, gold has always been considered absolutely reliable. By March, gold prices rose steadily.
But now investors are so unsure of how events will unfold and what the consequences may be for the global economy, even gold prices have fallen.
In addition, oil prices fell to their lowest level in nearly 20 years - since June 2001.
Investors fear that the further spread of the virus will slow down the global economy and, consequently, the demand for oil will decrease.
In addition to the coronavirus, oil prices are pulling down and the dispute between OPEC and Russia.
Growth can stop
Economic growth brings more wealth and more new jobs.
According to estimates by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), because of the coronavirus pandemic, global economic growth may be the smallest after the crisis year of 2009.
If back in November the OECD predicted that in 2020 the global economy will grow by 2,9%, now the forecasts have worsened by half a percent - to 2,4%.
In the event that the coronavirus pandemic lasts longer and has dire consequences when enterprises remain closed and workers remain at home, in 2020 the world economy can grow by only 1,5%.
US unemployment could be disastrous
Judging by the numerous forecasts of economists, the flow of vacations due to quarantine and illness will easily break all previous records, writes CNBC. The number of applications for unemployment benefits that will still be submitted will destroy the standards set even during the worst moments of the financial crisis and recession of the early 1980s. Bank of America predicts a total of 3 million applications. Such a depressing figure is expected that the Trump administration, according to several media reports, asked officials to postpone the publication of accurate data.
While the overall unemployment rate is unlikely to come close to 24,9%, as it was during the Great Depression, it may well be the highest in nearly 40 years, which is unthinkable for the labor market, which was at its height as recently as February. Job losses will not be in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands, but rather in the millions.
The worst month in terms of job loss during the financial crisis was 80 in March 000. According to some forecasts, in April 2009, everything could be 2020 times worse. Forecasts for this month range from 5 to 500 million. Due to the way the Department of Labor samples, the March report on non-farm employment is not likely to reflect the worst picture of layoffs. These numbers will be displayed in weekly unemployment figures.
Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, sees the possibility of losing 5 million jobs in April alone.
“We never imagined we would write something like that,” Shepherdson said in the letter. "The shock will be so strong that politicians will have no choice but to use much more incentives than is currently being discussed."
When all is said and done, the unemployment rate will be 10,6% and will affect 17,9 million Americans, or about 12 million more than in February, according to a forecast by Stephen Blitz, US chief economist at TS Lombard. The current unemployment rate is 3,5%, the lowest in 50 years. If Blitz is right, unemployment will reach its highest level since December 1982.
A SurveyUSA study found that 14 million people had already experienced layoffs, while 2% of US workers irrevocably lost their jobs. The Good Side: A Towers Watson survey showed that 52% of employers who left employees temporarily out of work will continue to pay them.
One of the positives of the scenario is that most economists still expect the recession to be short compared to other recessions, with the worst news ahead.
“As socialization returns and closed businesses resume, the economy will look more typical,” Blitz writes. "With a 'regular' downturn that has become less severe due to planned [$ 1 trillion] budget spending, the unemployment rate will fall in a moderate recession, probably reaching 6% by the end of the year."
“This is a planned, organized partial shutdown of the US economy in the second quarter. The overall goal is to keep everyone, households and businesses, whole ... This is a huge shock and we are trying to deal with it and keep it under control, ”- this is how the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis James Bullard explains his opinion that the unemployment rate in the US could reach 30% in the coming months, writes Market Watch.
If his gloomy forecast is confirmed, unemployment will be worse than during the Great Depression, and three times worse than the recession of 2007-2009. Bullard also said that he expects an unprecedented fall in GDP by 50%.
According to him, if you take appropriate measures, you can quickly restore the situation to normal.
“I would call the third quarter a transitional one, and the next six months are quite strong, as the Americans are increasing consumer demand. This quarter could be a splash time, ”he said.
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