Teetering on the Precipice (Still)

Round 6 results of the FiveThirtyEight/IGM COVID-19 Economic Outlook Survey Series is out. Fivethirtyeight characterizes the results:

A sudden uptick in food insecurity. A wave of evictions. People spending less money at shops and restaurants. More job losses.

According to leading economists, that’s what’s likely in store for the U.S. economy this year if Congress doesn’t renew any of the $600-per-week supplementary payment for unemployed workers by Sept. 1. …

My assessment, taking into account the generally upward revisions in expectations, is included in the article:

But even their revised predictions are still pretty gloomy. “Remember that 10 percent used to be the depths of a severe recession, and other measures of the labor market like participation and underemployment are still very bad,” Wright added.

So while the July jobs report might have seemed, on the surface, to deliver good news, the survey makes clear that there is plenty that could keep us in the economic doldrums for the foreseeable future — particularly if Congress doesn’t act at some point soon. Menzie Chinn, an economist at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, said the July jobs report only confirmed his suspicion that the economic recovery was starting to plateau. Now, he thinks a W-shaped recovery — where the economy improves somewhat, only to crash again — is still possible, and “a stall is more and more likely.”

What are the perceived risk factors? The poll results are all here.

Notice the possibility of no significant Phase 4 bill figures substantially as a downside risk (I listed as the biggest risk).

Fivethirtyeight article here, all poll results here. Diane Swonk on the W-shape recovery scenario, here.


40 thoughts on “Teetering on the Precipice (Still)

  1. 2slugbaits

    Like a good liberal, yesterday I was listening to public radio. It was a discussion with Raj Chetty. He was talking about a new website that uses Big Data to track economic activity. You can drill down to state and metro areas and check economic activity in real time by occupation grouping.
    The NBER paper describing the tool is here:
    And the website itself is here:

    Not surprisingly, the website shows a steep drop-off in economic activity over the last two weeks.

    1. Moses Herzog

      You are such a cool and awesome person 2slugbaits!!!!! Thanks for sharing this!!!!! I am going to be absorbing this as much as I can. If your mother-in-law ever says anything bad about you, tell her I said she sucks Equus asinus.

  2. Moses Herzog

    I assume this will be in tomorrow’s hardcopy since the time mark is 2pm today?? I might go ahead and pick that up just to pay homage to my favorite internet Econ prof. Although the rumor is he disclaims me as a student, I still think he’s pretty cool.

  3. macroduck

    The House will remain under Democratic leadership. Biden will win unless the math changes substantially within the next month. Trum’s executive actions don’t seem enough to change the math. Trump needs to broaden his appeal. Disposing of his negotiaators on the new econ package and going big on schools and households would broaden his appeal.

    Moscow Mitch still has the best chance of pulling out a win. He needs to broaden the appeal of Republican Senate incumbents. Again, schools and households. id to state budgets, too, but that might not be felt until too late for the election. Mitch won’t play dead. Still time for legislation. He’ll want venomous tort protection as his pound of flesh.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Any thoughts on the degree of pure unadulterated panic we should feel by a Q-Anon candidate having 59% of the vote right now in Georgia?? Running away to a small underground shed in Montana pure panic or ice to numb my wrists and carbon steel razor blade kind of pure panic??

        1. Moses Herzog

          @ The Rage
          What about the hidden microphones?? I’ll meet you at Comet Ping Pong. Don’t forget to bring Agent 99, I’m feeling randy lately.

          Message from Ivan: The virus is a fake, the virus is a fake. Next week’s password phrase” “orange beast in WH is Satan.” REPEAT: “orange beast in WH is Satan.” This is Agent Degenerate, signing out.

        1. noneconomist

          Recall poster JBH (I refer to him as J.Blowhard Hambone) who was constantly babbling about pending arrests—last figure close,to,100,000– for “traitors”, (any day now for about two years) shipping said miscreants to Guantanamo where they would be tried, yada, yada.
          J Blowhard waxed poetically about his personal successes—he has million dollar clients who genuflect at his expertise—and how the nation needs to clear out the riffraff and return to God and the Constitution.
          In other words, what these people are full of does not begin with the letter Q.

        2. Moses Herzog

          @ Willie
          I could put the link up where these Q-anon clinical nutjobs meet online. But you really don’t want to encourage that. If you’re ultra curious let me know and I’ll post the link for their “message board” or whatever farther down in this comment thread. God knows if Menzie doesn’t mind linking to ALEC he probably doesn’t mind linking to that.

      1. macroduck

        This is more or a pity moment. Even among the dumbest voters, there are even dumber voters.

        1. Moses Herzog

          If it was an aspersion on Q-anon, there is even a chance Menzie agrees, but for the sake of keeping the blog civilized has chosen to filter it. Like I say Menzie may even agree with you just might want it “toned down” a little. I test his patience pretty regular on the lines of good taste, so, he’s more than fair about it.

      2. pgl

        Georgia is a diverse state. This weirdo is running in Georgia’s 14th congressional district which basically is the home of the KKK. No sane person from Atlanta ever goes there.

        1. spencer

          My brother lived in Atlanta for years.

          His favorite comment was that you got on the
          interstate and drive a half hour from Atlanta
          and turn off right into 1935 ( the year)

          1. pgl

            He probably told you about I-285 aka the Perimeter Road. Inside the loop – civilization. Outside the loop – KKK territory.

          2. noneconomist

            Doesn’t her district include the setting for “Deliverance”?
            Scary thought: Trumper Jon Voight might campaign FOR her?
            Assuming Ned Beatty will not be making a return appearance.

        2. Willie

          I see. I have heard of Q-anon, but don’t know much of anything about it. Life is too short to keep track of all the nutjobs out there. We have always had a few in Congress anyway. As long as they don’t get much traction, all’s well. If they represent a district full of nutjobs, it’s only fitting.

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ Willie
            I won’t give the direct link, but “dare to live the MAGA dream” 8kun Or proclaim your sanity and don’t.

            The site is registered under “tucows”. Let’s put it this way, if you think Reddit is wild, you’ve only touched the surface.

            I feel the same way about this as I do Alex Jones. You’re always going to have these type characters, and what these nutjob websites actually do is provide more evidence and link people back to their own crimes.

            BTW, NYT is predicting Greene will most likely win her Congressional seat. What was the old saying…… “crazy like a fox”?? In my personal opinion QAnon and MAGA are really the same beast, only it’s very arduous to figure out which part is the head and which part is the tail.

    2. Willie

      If Moscow Mitch retains power, expect more scorched earth and more economic and pandemic misery. He doesn’t mind suffering and death if he can wring a partisan advantage out of it. He proved that under Obama and bunker boy. He will not change under a President Biden or President Harris.

      1. pgl

        Even if Moscow Mitch wins his reelection we need to make sure he is at best minority leader. When Trump does gone and the Dems take over the Senate – I expect one of the few remaining sane Republican Senators to challenge this disaster as leader.

        1. Willie

          We can hope so. I’m not a Mitt Romney fan, but he would be an enormous improvement over Moscow Mitch. As an example.

  4. pgl

    Trump says we have this virus out of control and he has plenty of sycophants who will twist the numbers in order to support Trump’s lies. One canard is that deaths per day have fallen. Yes, we saw just over 500 new deaths on August 9 and on August 10. But yesterday, we had 1074 new deaths. Here is one chart of US deaths per day, which looks like a roller coaster:


    Sorry sycophants – your manipulation of the data is convincing no one.

  5. macroduck

    Off topic, but on a recent topic: dollar strength and reserve status.

    Brad Setzer at CFR has posted a comment on the implications of recent dollar weakness:


    His point is that while dollar weakness often leads to speculation about loss of reserve status, the reality is just the opposite. As long as export-dependent Asian nations resist currency appreciation, dollar weakness is likely to lead to reserve accumulation.

    Here’s a picture:


    The pattern is consistent with a sudden reduction in overseas dollar loans (sudden spike upside) followed by a correction (spike downside) and then a realization that the U.S. economy is gonna suck until Covid policy is sorted out (continued loss of dollar value).

    1. The Rage

      A Biden election would kill that. China wants a large upward revaluation. They won’t do it for Don

      1. Moses Herzog

        Even China has decided they don’t want donald trump. Do you know how much of an F–ked up USA national leader you have to be, that even a president who is destroying America’s leadership from the inside out and destroying America’s democracy is so bad for the world in general that even the Chinese Politburo has decided he’s too much of a pain in the ass?? Do you have any faculties at all or awareness of how surreally bad that is???

  6. Moses Herzog

    It’s been shown in survey after survey and in actual election votes, blacks (in general) do not react well to homosexual candidates—for reasons connected to their personal religious beliefs. Pete Buttigieg was polling at 6% in California. Kamala Harris was polling at 8% in California– her home state

    That poll quoted above in the San Francisco Chronicle is from early October. By October 27th the NBC/WSJ poll had Kamala Harris polling at 4% nationally

    Kamala Harris quit the race for obvious reasons, in early December.

    Here is a poll that had Kamala Harris at 8% in her home state of California, 6 weeks before she quit the race:

    I guess the obvious question is, why quit in December when the California primary (with a TON of electoral votes) is roughly 90 days later?? PR wise, what would that have looked like for Harris, if blacks in that state overwhelmingly chose not to vote for her??

      1. Moses Herzog

        Willie, you appear to be having what I might refer to , in reference to another regular commenter here, as a “baffling moment”, which pains me to say because I like you as a person and actually in general you’re not the simpleton you sometimes portray yourself to be. But….. the point I was attempting to make here, is, if blacks (*in general) do not take a liking to homosexual candidates (i.e. Buttigieg), and they don’t vote for them, what does it say about Harris’s popularity (or lack thereof) when she’s only polling 2% over an openly homosexual man in, yes, I’m going to say it AGAIN, her own home state???

        1. baffling

          willie, we already have seen an example of a “baffling moment”, so let me illustrate. somebody claims to view trump as contemptible. but given the binary choice between the trump and the biden administration, chooses to denigrate the biden administration, thus implicitly promoting trump and directly harming biden. then that person wants the right to complain about trump for another four years. and if you challenge the incompetence of this position, you will be called a russian and chinese sympathizer. baffling moments are typically used to describe situations where folks do not want to take responsibility for their voices and actions. we see it on a weekly basis from the trump administration. but it is not an inherent trait of conservatives. it has been observed across the political spectrum.

      2. Barkley Rosser

        Sorry, Willie. See my response to him, for a more detailed explanation, but in fact he is confusing a survey in California with one of Black people, so he dragged in Buttigieg’s California results as if somehow they said something about the views of Black people. He is just losing it with all this, wallowing in his own hatred of Harris and floundering around with numbers that have nothing to do with each other. It is really kind of pathetic.

        Actually I think the problem is that he some time ago identified Harris with me, so his self-confessed “borderland hatred” of me has gotten transferred to her, which is now making him look extremely foolish as he attempts to cook up ever more nonsensical arguments as to why she is going to drag Biden down to defeat, not that he is all that keen on Biden either.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      This is becoming increasingly hilarious, especially for its utter irrelevance, Moses. So at a certain point before she withdrew from the prez race Kamala had low poll ratings in California suggests what given the outpouring of support, including a surge in fundraising, for her current nomination for VP? And why are you dragging in Pete Buttigieg and alleged anti-gay prejudice by Blacks? I assume you are not suggesting KH is a lesbian. Oh, you think that showing Pete had higher ratings than Kamala showed Blacks do not like her now? Those are statewide polls in CA, where Blacks are not all that large a part of the population.

      My analysis of what happened with her prez campaign is that she attempted to play a unifying role in the Dem party at a point in the race where that was a losing way to go. So she started out supporting Bernie’s version of Medicare-for-all. But when she realized that it had major problems she modified her view, with the result that she annoyed the Bernie-Warren wing, but also failed to attract anybody from the Biden-Klobuchar-Buttigieg wing. She ended up nowhere, even though she was trying to do something that would be reasonable for the actual candidate, but which was not successful for obtaining the nomination. Too soon for that. Black women stuck with Biden, and delivered for him eventually, which is what did in both Bernie and Warren in the end, quite aside from the rest. Kamala figured it out well before those others did and got out in early December, still way before even the Iowa caucuses.

      Ironically her moving her positions around has put the Trump gang, whose propaganda you have a serious track record of repeating about Biden and numerous others, in a position of not knowing how to attack her. She is too pro-cop, no, she is too anti-cop, and they similarly fumble on other issues. They do not know what to do other than their usual racist and misogynist rants, and Trump going on about how “incredibly nasty” she was to Kavanaugh. Yes, he and Pence have reason to be afraid. As a prosecutor, she is already starting to just take them apart, and they do not know how to defend themselves.

      In any case, after putting him into the top spot, it certainly looks like Black women are extremely pleased that he has put a Black woman on the ticket, even if perhaps people you knew in grade school might be tuttering in a corner somewhere against her and plan to stay home in protest in November.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Two further notes on all this. One is that there is a fresh poll out. Harris is viewed more favorably than Biden, Pence, or Trump, in that order.

        Also, a reminder of a recent survey on Daily Kos, which Moses made a snarky remark about, I guess because I mentioned it. While he is fixated on a poll in California over 8 months ago for presidential nod when there were still over a dozen people running, much more relevant is recent polls about who should be Biden’s VP pick. I commented here quite recently on the one taken at Daily Kos, which leans very pro-Bernie progressive. It had Harris way on top at 37%, with Warren second in the 20s and Rice third in the teens, with no others above 5%. Of course those top three were the three I was touting as “presidential” and would have been fine with any of them. But efforts to try to suggest that Harris will be a drag on the ticket by repeatedly dragging out this 8 months old poll during the nominate race in California are simply ludicrous and completely irrelevant.

        I am also going to call you out on Black people, Moses. I am in current communication with several, and every single one of them is very enthusiastic about the Harris pick. I have yet to see any Black person publicly criticizing her or Biden picking her, even as I saw one commentator on the talk shows throw in a “despite questions that can be raised about her prosecutorial record” as they strongly endorsed her. So, Moses, all your blathering about this or that awful thing she did back then simply does not matter. Nobody really cares all that much, although apparently you still do. But, go ahead, tell us about that horde of childhood friends you have from grade school, how they are all sending you messages denouncing Harris and declaring how they will sit the election out or maybe even vote for Trump (heck, he does have some Black supporters; maybe some of them are friends of yours). Really. Go ahead. Tell us, or else STFU about how Biden-Harris will lose the election because so many Black people will sit at home because Biden picked her. Really, at this point you do not have even the ghost of a shred of credibility on this massive whine of yours, which is clearly continuing because of your blind “borderland hatred” of me.

        And I apologize to Dilbert Dogbert for making such a fuss in the bar, but this really is a serious matter, and it is pretty clear that Moses is pretty much all alone here on this one, although maybe some of our Trumpists might come barreling out of wherever to support him.

        1. pgl

          “And I apologize to Dilbert Dogbert”.

          I guess DD has gone bored with all this back and forth so permit me to anticipate what he might say. The ticket is Biden-Harris. Full stop!

          Get over it and support the ticket. Unless one wants Trump reelected. Moses knows I was for Susan Rice but that decision has been made. So no more Bernie Bro 2016 whining. Even Senator Sanders is 100% behind this ticket.

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ pgl
            I don’t know how to prostate myself for useless White House jobs and cheer for things and people I don’t believe in. Have Debbie Wasserman C*ntz call my home phone and give me some pointers.

            Is she still your “surrogate”?? Which one is spoonfeeding you your thoughts this week???

      2. Willie

        Harris is a pragmatist. That’s why I like her. She’s not afraid to be inconsistent if it means figuring out what works and then making things happen.

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