Let's explore a couple of Tweets with possible answers.

Unwind 20 Years of Job Creation

Bloomberg estimates an unemployment rate of 20%. 

Based on 30 million recent claims, I estimated an unemployment rate of 21%.

Initial Unemployment Claims 

Initial Unemployment Claims in 2020 - 2020-04-25

For details please see Upcoming Jobs Report: What Will the Unemployment Rate Be?

If we subtract 30 million jobs as I did in the lead chart, the employment level would be the similar to that in 1997. 


Bloomberg estimates 1999. 

Five Caveats

  1. Just because people filed and unemployment claim does not mean they qualify according to BLS Household Survey guidelines.
  2. The reverse also holds true. People may qualify for unemployment without filing. Gig workers in particular fall into this category.
  3. Household Survey uncertainties: See The BLS FAQ on the Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Employment Situation for March 2020
  4. In the Household Survey if you work as little as 1 hour you are not unemployed.
  5. The Covid-19 Relief Act may impact claims but not the survey.

An employment level somewhere between 1997 and 2000 is a likely range.

My numbers are for the Employment Level (from the household survey), not the Nonfarm Jobs total which is the establishment survey.

Deflation Coming - Blame the Fed

The decline in employment is a very deflationary event from both a price standpoint and a credit destruction standpoint.

For discussion, please see The Problem is Not Deflation, It's Attempts to Prevent It


All of the Employment Gains for 20 Years Are From Those Aged 60 and Over

Here's a fascinating look at employment trends for the past 20 years and what's driving them.

Jobs Rise 225,000 But Employment Fell by 89,000

The BLS reports jobs rose by 225,000 in January but the manufacturing recession continues.

Examining the Discrepancy Between Jobs and Employment

In the past year, the BLS says the number of jobs rose by 2.62 million. Employment rose by 1.429 million.

Jobs +201,000 vs Employment -423,000: Another BLS Divergence

Nonfarm jobs rose but actual employment fell in two different measures of the BLS July jobs report.

Discrepancy Between Jobs and Employment Persists: Expect More Negative Revisions

The BLS revised away 75,000 jobs in April and May. The discrepancy between jobs and employment is still massive.