Sunday, September 6, 2020

Bill Crawford: When Will Economy Recover?

As the $3 billion stimulus impact provided by Congress winds down, businesses spend out their Paycheck Protection Program loans, and the extra $600 in weekly unemployment payments ends, is Mississippi’s economy ready to go it alone?

Both the president and the congress agree more stimulus money is needed to keep the national economy going, but they cannot agree on how much.

Lacking another big stimulus, reports that economists see rising permanent layoffs, increasing long-term unemployment, and the increasing number of men losing jobs as indicators another recession looms.

Gov. Tate Reeves, apparently, agrees additional stimulus is needed. He announced a temporary plan in late August to continue paying higher unemployment benefits, up to $300 a week for some recipients. "We will see how it works for the next few weeks,” he said.

President Donald Trump by executive order had authorized states to pay an extra $400, with the state putting up $100 to get $300 in federal dollars. Reeves said Mississippi didn’t have “an extra $22 million a week” to cover the $100 payment. Instead he worked a deal to allow the state’s existing payments to cover the $100. However, only recipients who were getting $100 or more per week will qualify for the extra $300. Low-wage recipients getting less than $100 will get nothing extra. (The average pre-pandemic claim in Mississippi was $213.)

In March the state’s unemployment trust fund had a balance of $706 million. In July alone, the state paid out $96.7 million for 657,190 weekly unemployment claims. The trust fund balance would have been cut in half but for an extra $181 million contribution from federal pandemic funds. With that, the balance still fell to $489 million. (A year ago in July there were only 53,257 weekly unemployment claims costing $8.5 million.)

The state unemployment rate zoomed upward to 11.5% in July from 6.3% a year ago and 5.1% in February. Forty-six of 82 counties had unemployment rates higher than the state rate with the highest being Jefferson at 25.7% and Holmes at 21.7%.

Through July, the pandemic had cost Mississippi thousands of jobs. The employment number was 105,800 lower than the previous July. It was 90,800 less than the February 2020 number.

Several job sectors suffered double digit losses year over year. Arts, entertainment, and recreation jobs fell 75%, information jobs 15%, natural resources and mining jobs 13%, construction jobs 10%, and educational services jobs 10%.

The big sector losers by number of jobs were health care and social assistance, down 6,700; state and local government, down 6,200; arts entertainment and recreation, down 4,700; construction, down 4,200; accommodation and food services, down 4,100; and manufacturing, down 3,600.

Surprisingly, retail trade numbers in July were back level as were those for real estate, rental, and leasing.

Mississippi’s 48th ranked workforce participation rate also fell year over year, from 56.6% to 54.6%.

As pandemic numbers ebb and escalate in Mississippi and additional federal stimulus funding stalls, what lies ahead for the state’s economy? CNBC reported economists are giving 1 in 4 odds for another recession.

Gov. Reeves is right to be concerned.

“Do not lose heart” – 2 Corinthians 4:16.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson


Anonymous said...

It certainly appears many small and large companies have learned they can operate more efficiently with fewer, or at least less costly employees.

This may very well result in more workers turning into subcontractors, thus losing benefits but also having more free time as they work from home.

Anonymous said...

It's been interesting to see the GOP embraced debt and destroy the Mom and Pop's while pretending the growing monopolies ( including in farm produce) that dictate the stock market are all about conservatism and fiscal responsibility.

Its not unusual for recovery from a pandemic with such severe loss of life to take 10 years. That's why several months of inconvenience are preferable but crazy politics apparently makes humans deaf,dumb and blind.

Anonymous said...

Too bad people won't tell it like it is. What's wrong with the truth?

Anonymous said...

10:51 am I do hope you realize that when " benefits" are lost, you pay more for insurance. The larger the insurance pool, the lower, your costs.

I would also suggest you look at the costs of a hospital bill for Covid patients.

And, as for employees, you may be losing the most valuable in the long term if you are going with last hired, first fired or pushing out those who are good at teaching needed skills and establishing a positive corporate culture because they are the most costly.

Crisis management always results in terrible decision making if cooler heads with long term vision don't prevail. It just does.

Robert W Neill, Broker said...

Bob Browne of Northern Trust has some interesting ghoughts in his economic forecast. He sees restructuring by both individuals and companies as a big part of where the economy is going.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS