Over 70 million claims for unemployment benefits have been filed so far, and numbers keep climbing as hundreds of thousands of businesses are closing their doors for good. Our economy is undergoing damages only comparable in size and extent to what was witnessed during the Great Depression of the 1930s and, unfortunately, there’s no end in sight to the nightmare we’re living in right now. That’s what we discuss in this video
The latest data show that another 900,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims last week, a clear indication of the challenges ahead for the labor market. Before 2020 had started and the whole idea of an economic collapse was still just a possibility, the all-time record for new weekly unemployment claims was only 695,000, registered during the Early 1980s Recession. At this stage of the crisis, the number of new claims for jobless benefits has been surpassing 695,000 for almost 44 weeks in a row. That is to say, we’re nearing a full-year of record-breaking unemployment rates, and the most worrying thing is that this is just the start.
Low-wage workers have been particularly hard hit by the crisis, many of them used to be employed in the hospitality industry, whose segments were severely affected by the many rounds of restrictions. The restaurant industry, for its part, is facing the worst meltdown it has ever endured. According to an OpenTable study, the number of “seated diners,” a daily measure that tracks walk-ins and diners with reservations, was down on average by 57% all across the U.S. just this week compared to the same period last year.
Likewise, according to STR, Inc, a hotel industry market data firm, 2020 was unquestionably the worst year on record for hotels as industrywide profits were down to zero, as a consequence of government-mandated social distancing measures that kept travelers at home. The STR report revealed that the industry has now one billion unsold room nights for the first time, exceeding the record of 786 million in 2009.
It’s not possible to accurately foresee a timeline of when corporate travelers will start booking hotel rooms again, especially with the popularization of work-at-home arrangements and Zoom meetings, which could imply that there will be a permanent decline in traveling, possibly resulting in an unprecedented wave of hotel foreclosures. Numerous small business owners are also at the brink of seeing their business hit rock bottom, as the ramifications of the forced shutdowns have been absolutely devastating their prospects of a recovery.
What our businesses desperately need is to resume the pace of economic activity, but instead, it seems that we’re trapped in a never-ending stimulus path that doesn’t effectively support owners, workers nor the economy. In fact, the new administration has already launched some questionable plans that will likely impair small truckers. Trucking industry experts have been debating over new laws on transportation that are about to be passed under the new presidency, which could seriously endanger many small American trucking companies.
Ultimately, the results of this law will enable big corporations to seize even more of the trucking market share. It’s important to keep in mind that truck drivers’ work is essential to keep providing food and material necessities to the nation. But these workers have been feeling disrespected and ignored by the political elite, which could trigger another halt on transportation just as we’ve seen in November. Consequently, that could potentially lead to another supply chain disruption, and send prices of several goods remarkably up.
Apparently, it is going to be another dark year in U.S. history. The American dream has turned into an economic nightmare and it seems that every day it passes, we’re only waiting to see what the next trigger event will be. So many people are suffering at this point, it is just gut-wrenching to watch our great nation’s continual decay. Millions of citizens and hundreds of thousands of businesses keep hanging by a thread, and all we can do at this point is hoping for it not to break.
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