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Homebuilding market crashes due to Wuhan virus

The beatings will continue until morale improves: According to the Commerce Department, housing starts plunged 22.3% in the past month, the largest such decline since 1984, due to the Wuhan flu shutdowns imposed by state governments .

Economists are estimating the economy contracted as much as 10.8% in the first quarter, which would be the steepest drop in gross domestic product since 1947. They say the massive fiscal package will likely provide little cushion for the economy.

“The economy is in a downward spiral where job losses beget job losses and the federal government emergency relief checks will not be enough to turn the tide,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “The recovery is looking less V-shaped by the day as the deeper we fall, the harder it will be for the nation to climb back out of this deep hole the pandemic has dug for the economy. The worst is yet to come.” [emphasis mine]

Once again, waiting two or three or four more weeks to release us from house arrest does not mean that the economy will simply come back to life then. Once businesses crash, it can take a long time to recover.

The lack of perspective astonishes me. We are going to bankrupt ourselves and bring on a Great Depression over a new disease this year that is comparable to the annual flu season.

Want to continue social distancing? Sure. Want people to wash their hands a lot? Sure. Wear masks? If you think it necessary, sure.

Shut down all business transactions so that millions become jobless and whole industries go bankrupt? Over this? That’s insane. Not only will such a economy crash cause far more suffering and deaths, it will make it far more difficult to fight the disease.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Edward

    Robert noted: “Once again, waiting two or three or four more weeks to release us from house arrest does not mean that the economy will simply come back to life then.

    This is why they initially announced closures for only three weeks. After only three weeks, it would have been much, much easier to recover, because fewer companies would become insolvent and fewer jobs would be forever lost. With a long closure, there is too much damage that is too hard to repair. We all recognize this, and the shorter initial shutdown was easier to accept without protests in front of capitol buildings.

    It is similar to the problem of our hospitals not treating routine health problems. As you read this, minor health problems are growing into major problems, and could ultimately result in death or permanent injury. As the shutdown extends in length, an economic hiccough turns into a recession turns into a depression.

    With our workers out of work for a long time, we lose the prosperity that it takes to be able to recover.

  • john hare

    My construction company is working on projects that were in the works before all the interventions started. My concern is not so much for the next month as it is for the next year when the starts that don’t happen now will not be work for later. My crew has been together a long time and I would hate to see layoffs as I would be unlikely to build another team like I have now.

    I am starting to see some reaction in people that don’t normally worry about politics. It is entirely possible that an anger will build up that will address the over reach that has been occurring during this crisis, as well as some of the problems that should have been addressed years and decades ago.

    It is possible that this country could be stronger a year from now if people come out of this with the right attitude. An understanding that freedom to solve problems has been curtailed would be a valuable insight for many.

  • larro

    Dear Mr. Zimmerman,
    Thanks for the information and timely facts. May I ask two questions?
    First, I would like to see how many people in America died 365 days ago, and how many people died yesterday. (with no other conditions) How about repeat daily?

    Is there a method of finding upcoming Space-X launches?

    Thank you, and continue the good work!

  • larro: Your first question: I would love to know the answer to this as well. I’d need to do research, or have one of my educated readers clue us in.

    Your second question: Go here or here.

  • J Fincannon

    What I find interesting is the mutation rate of this virus. It is supposed to get a mutation every month. Maybe it is true with other viruses. Makes it is heck of a problem building herd resistance to. I wonder why it mutates. If we were on our way to Mars and the virus was in the spaceship with us, it seems its mutation rate from cosmic rays might be higher than on Earth. Likely we need to look at this prior to going to Mars.

  • R7 Rocket


    All death rates being modeled are fake. The bureaucrats have no idea how many people are infected due to asymptomatic carriers.

  • Chris

    Serologic tests needed in statistically high numbers across geographic areas to understand the full extent of the infection in the US.
    Without this we cannot know what the death rate is.

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