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.

Clothing and cotton sales plummet 50% due to Wuhan panic

The beatings will continue until morale improves: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the clothing and cotton industry has seen a 50% plunge in sales in the past month due to Wuhan panic.

The result?

As countries worldwide take measures to slow the spread of coronavirus by quarantining people and closing nonessential businesses, sales of cotton — and the clothing and textiles made from it — have declined sharply.

Demand for cotton is so low that even though prices hit their lowest levels in more than a decade, retailers and manufacturing facilities around the world are cancelling orders. “Every stage of the supply chain is getting hit,” said Jon Devine, senior economist for Cotton Incorporated, a nonprofit industry organization based in North Carolina. “Retailers are suffering,” he said. “In between, you’ve got all the manufacturers that are trying to get their orders cancelled. And then you get all the way back to the field. Farmers are entering their planting time. They have some difficult decisions to make.”

In other words, even if we get the country reopened in May (something that right now looks unlikely because of the desire of politicians to crush the economy and cancel the Bill of Rights in order to hurt Trump), this crash now is going to spiral into next year.

I should note that the stories on the crashing economy that I am posting are very easy to find. More to come. Sadly, I have had to widen my searches to more business related sources to find them. In more sane times, a business crash like this would be front page news on every news outlet in the country. Not now. We have gone insane.