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.