business news in context, analysis with attitude

From Axios this morning:

"More than 31 million Americans are collecting unemployment benefits of some form, while roughly 2.3 million filed new applications to receive them last week, the Labor Department said Thursday."

According to the story, "There were 1.4 million Americans who applied for traditional unemployment benefits — the first time the figure has risen from the prior week after consistently declining for 15 straight weeks.  Another 975,000 were first-time applicants to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which was established to provide unemployment benefits to gig workers and the self-employed."

Exacerbating the nation's economic problems is new data showing that permanent business closures now outnumber temporary ones, the Washington Post reports.

According to the story, "a new report from the online review site Yelp shows that, as the healthiest businesses have reopened and the ranks of permanent casualties have swelled, it’s now more likely than not that a closed business is gone for good.

"As of mid-July, 55 percent of the 132,500 pandemic-era closures on Yelp are now permanent. The online review site’s database includes hundreds of consumer-facing industries, from ax throwing and wine tasting to cabinetry and boat dealers, and only counts closures that have been confirmed by Yelp’s user operations team or reported directly by the business’ owner."

Indeed, the Post writes, "The nascent recovery has entered a crucial period. Over the coming months, expiring leases will force many more businesses to make existential decisions, said Harvard University postdoctoral researcher Michael Stepner, who has extensively tracked business performance in the coronavirus era."

KC's View:

If businesses fail, they cannot hire and rehire.  It seems to me that this is the larger, existential challenge facing the US economy.  And I have no idea how to solve that problem when opening the economy seems to be the best way to spread the coronavirus and sustain the pandemic.

The question is whether the whole thing is FUBAR.