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Coronavirus dashboard for May 31: comparing US States and regions with European countries

2 days ago

– by New Deal democratAmong all countries in the world, Sweden has the worst death rate from coronavirus: 5.9 per million per day over the past week. But, even with massive declines from their peaks, most of the States in the US’s eastern megalopolis are worse.

To begin, here’s Kevin Drum’s dashboard of major European countries, plus Canada, as of May 27:

He doesn’t show it, but since Spain had the worst outbreak among major Western European countries, here it is:

And here, by comparison, is the US:

From worst to best, here are the death rates per million over the past week:

Sweden: 5.9

UK: 3.8

US: 3.0

Canada: 2.6

Italy: 1.5

Spain: 1.2

France: 1.1

Germany: 0.5

At its worst, the US as a whole had a death rate of 8.1 per million.

Now let’s see how US

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Weekly Indicators for May 24 – 28 at Seeking Alpha

3 days ago

– by New Deal democratMy Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha.The news can be summed up in two words: “less awful.” With the exception of one employment measure, every other indicator has bounced off their recent lows, some very substantially. Meanwhile lower interest rates are setting the stage for growth after the pandemic effects ebb.As usual, clicking over and reading helps reward me with a couple of pennies for my efforts.

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April personal income and spending: considering the extreme circumstances, a good report

4 days ago

– by New Deal democratApril personal income and spending, reported this morning, showed the impact of both the lockdowns and the stimulus that was passed by the Congress.

To cut to the chase, spending in real inflation-adjusted terms declined -13% (red), while real income rose 11%(blue):

Unlike the recent jobs report, this is not a byproduct of the layoffs that were concentrated in the lower wage sector, which changed the composition of the labor force. Rather, this is an aggregate number, meaning that total income for everybody, adjusted for inflation, rose 11%As a result of the combination, the personal savings rate rose by 20%:

Depending on what happens with the intensity (or not) of “safer-at-home” orders in the future, and whether or not there is any further stimulus

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Lawrence Summers discovers bargaining power

5 days ago

– by New Deal democratMainline macroeconomics pretends to be “value neutral,” by which practitioners mean that they assign no moral value to the supply or demand curves to the participants in the economy: they simply exist. The question of *why* participants in the economy have particular supply and demand curves is simply not even in the universe of parameters.But in my experience “why” participants in an economy are willing to pay x amount for y good or service most often comes back to bargaining power. My ability to coerce if necessary a particular outcome comes down to the financial ability to walk away from the transaction. Or, as I have quoted a few times before, “Thems that has, git’s.”Yesterday the following abstract of a new economic paper, “The Declining Worker Power

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Initial and continuing jobless claims: good “less worse” news

5 days ago

– by New Deal democrat
Weekly initial and continuing jobless claims give us the best snapshot of the continuing  economic impacts of the coronavirus to the average worker.

Ten weeks in, there is some significant “less bad” news.

First, here are initial jobless claims both seasonally adjusted (blue) and non- seasonally adjusted (red). The non-seasonally adjusted number is of added importance since seasonal adjustments should not have more than a trivial effect on the huge real numbers:  

There were 1.915 million new claims, which after the seasonal adjustment became 2.123 million. This is a -323,000 decline from last week’s number, and the lowest so far since the virus struck. 

Since those laid off due to the initial lockdowns presumably have already applied for  benefits,

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Coronavirus, the economy, and the election: the jury is still out on all three

7 days ago

– by New Deal democratThere is some housing data out today; I’ll probably have a post up about it tomorrow at Seeking Alpha, and I’ll link to it here.

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on the effects of the “reopening” of many States on coronavirus infections.

Here’s a graph of the 7 day average of tests, new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, divided between the Boston, NYC, Philadelphia metro areas and Michigan on the one hand and everywhere else: 

Testing has continued to increase dramatically, while cases “everywhere else” have plateaued or possibly begun to slightly rise again. This still shows hospitalizations and deaths declining.

On a nationwide basis, new diagnoses have only declined by 3%, from 22,700 to 22,000, in the past eleven days, during which testing

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Coronavirus dashboard: emphasis on testing

9 days ago

– by New Deal democratI want to focus this edition on testing issues.

While the seven day average number of deaths continues to decline:

The seven day average number of new infections has leveled off:

The average number of daily tests *may* also be leveling off again in the past few days:

What is worse is that the number of new cases in the US has only declined -22% from its peak in the last 45 days. Meanwhile, even hard hit countries in Europe like Spain have seen a -90% decline from peak in new cases over a similar timeframe:

Even hardest-hit Belgium has had a -80% decline from peak (not shown).

The pessimistic explanation for this is that the US’s response, on the whole, has always been half-hearted at best. That may be the case, and at very least it

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Weekly Indicators for May 18 – 22 at Seeking Alpha

10 days ago

– by New Deal democratMy Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha.Many of the indicators are bouncing off their worst levels, especially those like mortgages that are affected by lower interest rates. On the other hand, employment losses continue to spread out.As usual, clicking over and reading not only should be educational for you, but rewards me a little bit for my efforts.

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Bad news and good news on coronavirus; plus, implications for Election Day

11 days ago

– by New Deal democratNo economic news today as we head into the Memorial Day weekend, but there are a few coronavirus and economic/political developments of note.

First, the bad news: the declining trend in new diagnosed cases of coronavirus in the US has stopped in the past week. Instead new cases have leveled off. Here’s a graph from Conor Kelly’s excellent tableau coronavirus dashboard page:

Cases in the US outside of NY actually increased slightly (2%) in the past week.

Now, the good news: as also shown in the above dashboard, testing has continued to increase dramatically, up 18% again in the past week.The jury is still out on whether the slight increase in new cases in the past 4 or 5 days is because some States recklessly “reopened” without justification, or whether it

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Initial jobless claims: employment damage continues to spread

12 days ago

– by New Deal democratNow that there is more than one month of data from initial and continuing jobless claims since the coronavirus lockdowns started, we can begin to trace whether the economic impacts of the virus are being contained, or are continuing to spread out into further damage.

Nine weeks in, it appears that, insofar as employment is concerned, the damage is continuing to spread.

First, let’s look at initial jobless claims both seasonally adjusted (blue) and non- seasonally adjusted (red). The non-seasonally adjusted number is of added importance since seasonal adjustments should not have more than a trivial effect on the huge real numbers: 

There were 2.174 million new claims, which after the seasonal adjustment became 2.438 million. This is a slight decline from last

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Housing permits and starts plummet in April, but mortgage applications suggest big rebound in May

13 days ago

– by New Deal democratAt some point it is going to be safe for the economy to be completely reopened. When that point comes it would be nice if the leading sectors of the economy have already been priming the pump for a consumer rebound.  As usual housing is the most important long leading sector in that analysis.As expected, housing tanked in April. But it is likely setting the baseline for improvement in the coming months, as new record low mortgage rates have brought out new buyers, as shown by new mortgage applications which as of this morning are only -1.5% below where they were last year at this time.This post is up at Seeking Alpha. As usual, clicking over and reading should be educational for you, and helps reward me a little bit for my efforts.

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New coronavirus cases vs. testing in “reopened” States

13 days ago

– by New Deal democrat
Are new coronavirus infections increasing in States that “reopened” on or about May 1? The jury is still out. The number of infections is up in 4 of the 5 biggest States that have done so, but so are the number of tests. The likelihood that most or all of the increase is an artificial of an increase in testing depends on the date on which you start your comparison.

I haven’t been able to find graphs that nicely show both tests and positives together, so let me just show you 2 separate graphs of the 7 day average in number of new cases diagnosed vs. the 7 day average in testing for Texas, which is the state with the biggest number of new cases.

First, here are new coronavirus infections, which are up 42% from April 30:

But here are new tests performed,

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Abbreviated coronavirus dashboard for May 19: testing improvement continues

14 days ago

– by New Deal democratHere is the update through yesterday (May 18).

As usual, significant developments are in italics. The downward trend in new infections and deaths has continued. An important issue is whether we are beginning to see an increase in new infections in States which irresponsibly “reopened.” I will look at that separately from this post.

I will restart giving the daily increase in infections if States that have “reopened” start to increase significantly again. The preliminary evidence is that customers are largely staying away from reopened businesses in those States.

Number of new and total reported Infections (from Johns Hopkins via arcgis.com and 91-divoc.com):
Number: 22,215, total 1,508,957 (vs. day/day high of +36,161 on April 24)

There has been over a

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Updating the Petri dishes of democracy: population density remains a primary determinant of intensity

15 days ago

– by New Deal democrat
Over the weekend I saw a map indicating that new coronavirus infections have been increasing on a relative basis in different and generally more rural parts of the country, especially in the Baltimore-Washington portion of the eastern megalopolis and the “black belt” in the South, the interior Midwest and Mountain West:

Ten days ago I took a look at the number of cases of coronavirus based on the population densities of the States. In view of the above map, I thought I’d take another look. Since COVID-19 is a communicable disease, generally one would expect that the most densely populated States have the most cases per capita, and conversely the least densely States have the least cases.

Below are two charts consisting of the 12 most and least densely

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Three virus-related thoughts for Sunday

16 days ago

– by New Deal democratThere are a few posts I have been working on, but haven’t had the energy to complete.  But since I wanted to make the point, let me use this opportunity to quickly set forth a few thoughts.

1. I suspect that the virus has been “burning through the dry tinder” in March and April. At least 1/3, and possibly 1/2, of all deaths from the disease have been at nursing homes. When you consider this disease thrives on indoor spaces, recirculated air, repeated dosing with the virus, compromised immune systems, and those who already have cardiovascular disease, that ought to be no surprise.

What I suspect, but don’t have good sourcing for yet, is that a huge percentage of all residents at such facilities have already been infected. Since the turnover at these facilities

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Weekly Indicators for May 11 – 15 at Seeking Alpha

17 days ago

– by New Deal democratMy Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha. Noteworthy this week is that mortgage rates have fallen to new all-time lows, and mortgage applications, not coincidentally, have rebounded sharply.This is good news since housing normally leads the way in economic recoveries. This is an important positive for whenever the time comes that more normal life is able to safely resume.As usual, clicking over and reading helps reward me a little bit for my efforts.

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Coronavirus dashboard for May 16: 10 US States worse than the worst country, only 7 ready to transition to “test, trace, and isolate” regimen

17 days ago

– by New Deal democratHere is the update through yesterday (May 15).

As usual, significant developments are in italics. 

Before we get to the US raw numbers, here are a few graphic comparisons.

The worst country in the world for deaths on a per capita basis is Ecuador, at 7 per million: 

The US is in 5th place, at 4.5 per million, behind Sweden, the UK, and Belgium.

By contrast, the worst US State, NJ, has had 19 deaths per million in the past week: 

8 other States – MA, CT, NY, RI, IL, DE, MD, and PA, plus DC, all have had more deaths per million in the past week than Ecuador. Even NY, which has cut the rate of deaths per million by 70% from peak, still had more than 10 deaths per million in the past week:

Now, on to the US data.

I will restart giving the

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Behaviorism and the response to coronavirus

18 days ago

– by New Deal democratAs I mention from time to time, long long ago in a galaxy far far away I was a graduate student in a program affiliated with a Famous Business School which advertised itself as applying an interdisciplinary approach to public policy. Since I had an undergraduate degree in behavioral psychology, I thought this would be a fruitful career choice. Instead, it turned out that it was all about applying Chicago-school type economics to political and legal decisions. When I confronted a professor on a point where I knew that psychology – backed by all kinds of experimental evidence – predicted a different result, I was told that “it all randomizes out.” I changed career paths.

But there are times I wonder what would have happened had I instead found a willing advisor in

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Retail sales and industrial production set a baseline of a nearly 20% coronavirus decline

18 days ago

– by New Deal democratMonthly data from April sets the baseline for the impact of the coronavirus on the economy. This morning we got two important benchmarks for the consumer and producer sectors.

First, real retail sales declined -15.8%, on top of a March decline of -7.9%, for a total decline since February of -22.4%: 

This is the direct impact of the closure of businesses. As I said above, it sets a baseline against which May and subsequent months can be compared. I expect there to be secondary impacts spreading out from these primary closures. On the other hand, there will be some rebound – which may be only temporary, depending on what happens with new infections – from the “reopening” by many States.

It is noteworthy that the decline in sales is sharper than the decline

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Jobless claims show new damage ongoing, but some damage repaired

19 days ago

– by New Deal democratNow that we have more than one month of data from initial and continuing jobless claims since the coronavirus lockdowns started, we can finally begin to trace whether the economic impacts of the virus are being contained, or are continuing to spread out into further damage.

Eight weeks in, the answer is mixed.

First, let’s look at initial jobless claims both seasonally adjusted (blue) and non- seasonally adjusted (red). The non-seasonally adjusted number is of added importance since seasonal adjustments should not have more than a trivial effect on the huge real numbers: 

There were 2.614 million new claims, which after the seasonal adjustment became 2.981 million. 

By now, virtually all of the people laid off due to the initial lockdowns in March and

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Coronavirus dashboard: updating the 52 Petri Dishes of democracy

20 days ago

– by New Deal democrat[Note: There is no significant economic data today. Tomorrow we’ll get initial claims, and on Friday retail sales and industrial production for April, both of which will be important]
Here is the update through yesterday (May 12).

As usual, significant developments are in italics.

I will restart giving the daily increase in infections if States that have “reopened” start to increase significantly again. The preliminary evidence is that customers are largely staying away from reopened businesses in those States. 

Number of new and total reported Infections (from Johns Hopkins via arcgis.com and 91-divoc.com):  
Number: 22,080, total 1,370,016 (vs. day/day high of +36,161 on April 24)

There has been a 1/3 decrease in the number of new cases in the US from

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If you open it, they still won’t come: restaurant edition

21 days ago

– by New Deal democratIn case you haven’t already seen it, here is the OpenTable restaurant reservation data from 3 Confederate States that “reopened” their economy at the end of April: 

Even though restaurants were open again, reservations were still down over 80% from a year ago.

This highlights an important behavioral aspect of the pandemic: people did not wait for their State governments to order lockdowns in order to stop face-to-face economic activity. In all States – those that locked down early, late, or not at all – people dramatically slowed down non-“socially distant” participation:

This also explains what we see in the Florida data (which has other issues: e.g., snowbirds who have died in Florida haven’t been counted in its data):

Cases of coronavirus peaked

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April deflation follows a typical recessionary pattern

21 days ago

– by New Deal democratThis morning’s consumer price index for April gives us our first indication of what the coronavirus recession has done to inflation.

Overall consumer prices declined by -0.8% (blue), while consumer prices excluding energy (gas) declined -0.2% (red).  

Note that in 2015 when gas prices collapsed, prices otherwise continued to increase, showing the underlying strength of the economy. But in March and April of this year, even prices outside of gas declined, showing underlying weakness.

As a result YoY inflation is now only +0.4%, while YoY inflation ex-energy is up +1.7%:

This tells us that the decline wasn’t only in typically volatile gas prices, but showed more widespread weakness – i.e., a real recessionary scenario.

Typically in recessions prices

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Testing and the 52 Petri dishes of democracy

22 days ago

– by New Deal democratSince the federal government has abandoned the field, fighting the coronavirus pandemic has been left to the States, territories, and the District of Columbia. This means that there is no unified response and instead there are 52+ individual responses. That is the biggest challenge in tracking the pandemic.

Which means I’ve been looking for the best resources to show how the States are doing in comparison with one another. I’ve found a couple of good ones, so here are snapshots below. 

The first is endcoronavirus.com . They have thumbnail graphs of the 50 States, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, divided by the trend in their daily new cases. The list needs to be updated from May 5, as shown in the below sample of “States and Territories that are

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Coronavirus dashboard for May 10: testing continues to improve, major differences between NYC metro and rest of US

23 days ago

– by New Deal democrat
Here is the update through yesterday (May 9).

As usual, significant developments are in italics. 

I have discontinued giving the % increases day/day in infections and deaths. I will restart them if infections in States that have “reopened” start to increase significantly again. The preliminary, anecdotal evidence is that customers are largely staying away from reopened businesses in those States.

Number of new and total reported Infections (from Johns Hopkins via arcgis.com and 91-divoc.com): 
Number: 25,612, total 1,309,541 (vs. day/day high of +36,161 on April 24

There has been a significant decrease in the number of new cases in the US. The US nevertheless has the worst record in the world, by far.

Number of deaths and infections and rate of

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NY may have a much more severe problem than the infections data has shown

24 days ago

– by New Deal democratA few days ago I wrote in agreement with Nate Silver’s point that the increased number of coronavirus cases outside of the NYC metropolitan area might mainly be due to higher numbers of tests being conducted – and therefore finding more cases.

Here’s a graph that I used then to illustrate the underlying narrative: more cases outside of NY vs. fewer cases in the NY metro: 

I still think Nate is correct. I also still want NY to “crush the curve” in order to serve as an example to other States, but a subsequent graph causes me to wonder if NY has been in even more dire straits than we previously imagined.

Let me start with the daily graph of total tests (bars) and the percent of positive tests compared with total tests (red line) that I have been running in

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Weekly Indicators for May 4 – 8 at Seeking Alpha

24 days ago

– by New Deal democratMy Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha.I have added the calculations for the worst YoY readings since April 1.We now have one full month of comparisons since then, to use as a baseline. Next week, when the actual May numbers come in, we will be in much better shape to do month over month and YoY comparisons. This will enable us to see if and when we have reached the bottom, or whether like ripples in a pond, the second order economic effects are continuing to spread out. I strongly suspect there will be a period of the latter before we get inklings of the former.In any event, as usual clicking over and reading helps reward me a little bit for the efforts I put in to this reporting.

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Infections in US States by population density

25 days ago

– by New Deal democrat
Since COVID-19 is a communicable disease, it should hardly be a surprise that the most densely populated States have the most cases per capita, and conversely the least densely States have the least cases.  But since that basic point is lost in a lot of the analysis, let’s take a look.

Below are two charts consisting of the 12 most and least densely populated States, their respective population densities, and several measures of coronavirus infections.

The first column gives the rank of the State based on the total number of infections recorded since the start of the pandemic. The second column gives their rank per capita over time since the start of the pandemic. Finally, the third column gives their rank per capita based on infections just over the past

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April jobs report: disastrous, but not as cataclysmic as feared; lower paid part time workers take the biggest hit

25 days ago

– by New Deal democrat
HEADLINES:
-20.5 million jobs lost. Between March and April this is a loss of 14.0% of all jobs since February.
U3 unemployment rate up 10.3% from 4.4% to 14.7%
U6 underemployment rate rose 14.1% from 8.7% to 22.8%
February and March were both revised downward, by -45,000 and -169,000 respectively, for a net decline of -214,000 jobs from previous reports.

Leading employment indicators of a slowdown or recession

I am still highlighting these because of their leading nature for the economy overall.  These were uniformly very negative: 
the average manufacturing workweek fell -2.1 hours from 40.4 to 38.3 hours. This is one of the 10 components of the LEI and will be a big negative.
Manufacturing jobs fell by 1.3 million. Manufacturing has lost 1.364 million  jobs

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Initial jobless claims continue to be (less) horrible

26 days ago

– by New Deal democratOn a seasonally adjusted basis, initial jobless claims last week declined to 3.169 million. That brings the total number of new jobless claims over the past 7 weeks since the coronavirus crisis started to 33.5 million. Because seasonal adjustments are probably distorting the actual numbers substantially, I am including those in the below graph in red as well. They totaled 29.9 million in the past 7 weeks:We know that many people had been unable to file due to State systems being overloaded or obtuse. It is not clear how many are still unable, or have given up trying, but it is likely that the total number is significantly higher.Continuing claims, with a one week delay, rose to 22.647 million:Now that we have a solid month of initial claims since the coronavirus

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