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Unemployment drop vs coronavirus spike roils pre-holiday stock markets

Written By | Jul 3, 2020
Unemployment drop, coronavirus spike, Bad News Banks, coronavirus redux

Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with Comically Incorrect. (See link in article)

WASHINGTON – Thursday’s pre-holiday trading action was almost like a WWE wresting match, pitting absolute good news vs absolute bad news. Prior to the 9:30 a.m. opening bell, stock futures indicated a robust opening trade. That was based on June’s second huge unemployment drop in a row. But then, of course, the media quickly mounted a counterattack, trumpeting “soaring” coronavirus cases, primarily in red states.

Funny how this always happens when good news shows up.

First, the good news: A big, “unexpected” unemployment drop

CNBC reported the great June employment numbers, fresh from the Federal government.

“Nonfarm payrolls soared by 4.8 million in June and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1% as the U.S. continued its reopening from the coronavirus pandemic, the Labor Department said Thursday.

“Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a 2.9 million increase and a jobless rate of 12.4%. The report was released a day earlier than usual due to the July Fourth holiday.

“The jobs growth marked a big leap from the 2.7 million in May, which was revised up by 190,000. The June total is easily the largest single-month gain in U.S. history.

“‘Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back. It’s coming back extremely strong,’ President Donald Trump said in a news conference about an hour after the numbers were released. He pointed specifically to a sharp drop in the unemployment for Blacks that fell from 16.8% to 15.4%. ‘These are historic numbers.’”

The President was right to crow about these figures. This second big unemployment drop in a row essentially supports his argument that America’s pre-March 2020 business and employment expansion is once again ready to roll.

Also read: Shocker! May’s 2.5 million job increase ignites monster stock market rally

… And now, the bad news

But the anti-Trump media mavens couldn’t give this president more than a few minutes to crow about Thursday’s “unexpected” unemployment drop report. They quickly drowned out the positive national employment headlines with the clanging bells ringing in more and more coronavirus cases. They particularly relished “dramatic” coronavirus spikes in the red states that had initially managed to avoid them.

True, reported cases jumped substantially in heretofore relatively untouched states. But what’s really going on here is, to a great extent, an exercise in media misdirection. Of us.

Behind the numbers

First of all, up to 20-25% of the increased number of coronavirus cases were and will continue to be the result of increasing test results now that test kits are being more widely disseminated across the country. The media loves to dispute this number, but it accounts for a substantial number of these reported “new cases” no matter which way you slice it.

Second of all, the media cone of silence descended quickly on what was likely a primary reason for much of the rest of the “dramatic” coronavirus spike. Namely, the fact that America’s phenomenally well-organized anti-US insurrectionists managed to stage destructive riots in an astonishing number of American cities, including numerous smaller towns that generally escape this kind of activity.

Why the coronavirus spike? Anything to do with Antifa / BLM led riots?

Plenty of this activity occurred in the several large cities located in Texas, but also in Phoenix, Arizona and once again in hapless Seattle, where voters really need to seriously rethink the clowns they routinely put in charge of that city.

And guess what? The rioters (they were not and never were “protestors”) didn’t bother with social distancing as they looted, trashed and burned businesses large and small (including black owned businesses) intimidated hapless motorists, and, in several cases, raped and or murdered their way around town just to emphasize their hatred of capitalism and their desire to exterminate all white people. Even though most of these clowns were white.

Sure, the Antifa crowd wore masks. But only to conceal their identities. The rest of this mindless and destructive mob rained destruction on whatever targets appeared, again without masks or social distancing. The prime objective was to loot, destroy, and generally have fun, knowing that nearly all Democrat-led cities would pretty much order the cops to stand down and threaten police forces across the country with termination, just because.

Destroying property, jobs, lives … and health … all at the same time

But the unexpected objective turned out to be a massive goosing of coronavirus numbers, particularly in the gradually opening red states that had thus far avoided a serious coronavirus spike. Surprise, surprise. The spike became noticeable some 10-14 days after the riots peaked. Precisely the incubation period of the coronavirus before cases become obvious.

In other words, not only did the Antifa and BLM rioters destroy millions of dollars’ worth of businesses and livelihoods. By violating the social distancing protocols that seemed to be working, they effectively became a mob of Typhoid Marys, spreading the novel coronavirus far and wide, leading to a new eruption of reported cases.

But who the hell cares about the facts? And who the hell cares that less and less of these reported cases are resulting in deaths? America’s medical communities continue to develop strategies to short circuit the virus before it becomes lethal in vulnerable patients. But we don’t hear about this.

Surprise! The number of coronavirus cases matters very little

In the main, the reported number of coronavirus cases is not only irrelevant  — many of those infected never exhibit symptoms, but instead develop antibodies vs another coronavirus spike. It’s also misleading, as the declining number of deaths vs reported cases is actually positive news. And let’s not forget that some states are counting deaths from other causes as coronavirus deaths. But that’s another story.

The media sticks to the narrative. Objective: Dump Trump

Nevertheless, the media has convinced the public that the rapidly growing number of coronavirus cases is what’s important. Forget the declining number of deaths, percentage-wise, amidst the increase in cases. That would spoil the coronavirus spike / Trump incompetent narrative they’re trying to develop to defeat him in the fall elections.

Their success thus far is really why the coronavirus spike captured the headlines Thursday, cutting the heart out of the 400+ point rally that launched pre-holiday trading on Wall Street yesterday. The Journolist is still alive. Everyone in the media reports the same misleading story, leading people to believe it must be true.

More good business news you probably didn’t hear

Other good news that disappeared beneath the tsunami of coronavirus terrorism quickly fell off the radar. Like these fun facts:

“Leisure and hospitality again accounted for the biggest [employment] jump, as the sector saw a 2.1 million gain, accounting for about 40% of the total growth.

“Another big contributor to the decline of the jobless rate was a plunge in those on temporary layoff. That total fell by 4.8 million in June to 10.6 million after a decrease of 2.7 million in May. The short-term jobless level fell by 1 million to 2.8 million.”

CNBC’s colorful Jim Cramer, a lifelong liberal, was nonetheless among the few financial commentators who noticed the bizarre disconnect the media engineered by emphasizing the coronavirus spike in cases vs Thursday’s unexpectedly superb employment numbers.

Cramer notices the disconnect

“… Cramer said Thursday that the massive employment gains in June indicate confidence in the U.S. economy despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“‘There’s an optimism in the country that I think often is not shared with people who are on air, and that’s only because we don’t see the hiring. But people are hiring.’ Cramer said on ‘Squawk Box.’ ‘Frankly, I found it astonishing versus what we hear.’”

Yeah, Jim, I noticed it, too. But neither of us should be surprised. Never report the news accurately. Only emphasize “the narrative” whether it’s really true or not.

Perhaps investors saw through the nonsense Thursday. Thinly traded stocks ended up posting modest gains at the 4 p.m. close, despite getting gouged early in the day, courtesy of the relentless coronavirus emphasis. Looks like investors, at least, did not ignore the big unemployment drop.

Let’s celebrate our independence. And let’s step up to keep it

Today’s the official July 4 holiday for the government and most businesses, although plenty of American workers still remained homebound this week. Once we get through the holiday weekend – hopefully without any more needless, costly, and outright stupid statue topplings by the Soros funded, Gramsci-ite Communists who want to erase US history – we’ll see how much of Thursday’s tempered optimism remains as another trading week begins. (No trading  today.)

Here’s hoping my readers have a great holiday weekend. And a safe one. After all, July 4 IS Independence Day in the US. Let’s stiffen our spines a bit and start doing what we can to retain that independence for another century.

– Headline image: Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with Comically Incorrect


Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17