Please consider the Trump administration’s plea to states: Keep Mum About Unemployment Stats.

The Trump administration is asking state labor officials to delay releasing the precise number of unemployment claims they are fielding, an indication of how uneasy policymakers are about further roiling a stock market already plunging in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

In an email sent Wednesday, the Labor Department instructed state officials to only “provide information using generalities to describe claims levels (very high, large increase)” until the department releases the total number of national claims next Thursday.

The email, which was shared with The New York Times, noted that the reports were monitored closely by financial markets and should therefore remain embargoed. “States should not provide numeric values to the public,” wrote Gay Gilbert, the administrator of the department’s Office of Employment Insurance.

Ms. Gilbert has worked at the Labor Department under presidents of both parties, and there has been no indication that she was urged by political appointees to make the request. But President Trump has privately expressed irritation at the dire predictions of some of his advisers, most notably when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers that unemployment could reach 20 percent this year.

Robert O’Brien, the [Pennsylvania] deputy secretary of labor and industry, said the government had been overwhelmed by a flood of unemployment insurance claims — 180,000 just in the last few days. He said that was far more than the state usually gets in a whole month.

The situation may be even more dire in Washington, the first epicenter of the contagion in the U.S. State officials there would only say they are seeing an “even more dramatic increase this week” after unemployment claims soared 150 percent last week from the week before.

Who Made this Moronic Decision?

Given that communication is supposed to travel through Vice President Mike Pence it should at least be at that level.

Apparently the data is better if no one sees it.

Yeah right.

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In practice, this makes people more nervous about what the government is hiding.

Regardless of who made the decision, Trump is responsible for it. If Gay Gilbert made the decision and Trump does not agree then she should be fired on the spot.

If Trump agrees with it or ordered it, he is a fool to think the data can or should be suppressed.

People will now demand to see the data, and rightfully so.

Estimating the Unemployment Rate

In case you missed it, please see 9% of the US Has Been Laid Off Due to the Coronavirus.

I crunched the SurveyUSA poll numbers and if they are accurate estimate an unemployment rate of 12.0% with the U6 Underemployment rate at a staggering 39.7%.

If close, it's no wonder Trump wants to hide the numbers.

What's next, banning polls?

Meanwhile ...

That seals the deal on a massive spike in the unemployment rate.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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