Category Archives: #CoronavirusUS

4/2/21: U.S. Labor Markets: America’s Scariest Charts, Part 5

 The first four posts on the state of the U.S. labor markets have covered:

  1. Continued Unemployment Claims (;
  2. Labor force participation rate and Employment-to-Population ratio (; 
  3. Non-farms payrolls (; and
  4. New (initial) unemployment claims data through January 30, 2021 (
In this post, let's take a look at the latest data on average duration of unemployment through December 2020:

As the chart above clearly shows, current average duration of unemployment spell is already higher than the peak of any prior recession other than the Great Recession. However, the duration remains relatively benign when we control for the business cycle (red line and the chart next).

Dynamically, it is hard to imagine average duration of unemployment to be staying around its current levels. Something to watch in months to come as an indicator of the direction of structural (as opposed to cyclical) unemployment. 

4/2/21: U.S. Labor Markets: America’s Scariest Charts, Part 4

 The first three posts on the state of the U.S. labor markets have covered:

  1. Continued Unemployment Claims (;
  2. Labor force participation rate and Employment-to-Population ratio (; and
  3. Non-farms payrolls (
In this post, let's take a look at new unemployment claims data through the week of January 30, 2021:

The data confirms the worrying trends cited in reference to continued unemployment claims. In the last week of January 2021, based on preliminary estimates published today, initial unemployment claims stood at 816,247 - a decline of just 23,525 on prior week reading. The 4-weeks cumulative initial unemployment claims are at 3,744,581, which only 103.433 down on prior 4 weeks period. Net, over the last 5 weeks, the reduction in initial unemployment claims stands at a miserly 19,725. 

Despite little media coverage, the U.S. labor markets remain stricken by the pandemic effects on economic activity. If we strip out data for the pandemic period-to-date, the latest weekly reading for initial unemployment claim ranks as the 10th highest in the history of the series. 

4/2/21: U.S. Labor Markets: America’s Scariest Charts, Part 3

 In two prior posts, I covered two of America's Scariest Charts:

  1. Continued Unemployment Claims ( and 
  2. Labor force participation rate and Employment-to-Population ratio (
Here, let's take a look at non-farm payrolls that measure employment levels in the economy.

In December 202, employment growth stalled. In fact, non-farm payrolls fell 328,000 in the last month of 2020 to 143,777,000, or 9,400,000 below pre-pandemic peak. December was the first month of declines in employment since April 2020, but employment growth was relatively slow already in November when the U.S. economy added 603,000 jobs, the slowest pace of recovery after July for the entire period of recovery of May-November 2020.

This evidence further reinforces the argument that labor markets conditions in the U.S. remain abysmal, prompting American workers to slip out of the labor force. 

4/12/20: COVID19 Update: U.S. vs EU27

EU27 vs U.S. comparatives for COVID19 pandemic to-date:

  • The U.S. retains higher death rate per 1 million population (844.6), than the EU27 (624.4). 
  • Current U.S. death rate per capita is 35% above the EU27, though this gap is still closing (it was 42% a week ago).
  • Gross counts of deaths in the U.S. >> the EU27 over 12/07 - 1/12.  This was reversed on 2/12, with total EU27 deaths currently at 278,914 vs the U.S. 276,316. 
  • Adjusting deaths to account for a 1 week lag in the onset of pandemic in the U.S., relative to the EU27, current U.S. deaths are 21,435 above those in the EU27
  • Adjusted for population and pandemic timing differences, the U.S. deaths are 77,048 above those in the EU27.
  • While the EU27 led the U.S. in new deaths and case counts through 20/11, since then, the U.S. has retaken the lead in new cases counts. 
  • Daily deaths counts in the U.S. are now expected to start exceeding those in the EU27 once again.

Starting with 20/11/2020, the U.S. once again overtaken the EU27 in the number of daily reported cases, based on 7-days moving average:

The data above is yet to reflect massive potential contagion event of Thanksgiving travel in the U.S. and the related movements of students from and back to the colleges and universities that allowed in-person teaching in the Fall 2020 semester.

Shorter lags between contagion and diagnosis of COVID19 cases imply longer lags between new cases arrivals and hospitalisations, which in turn further elongates the lags between new cases detection and associated deaths counts. This is clearly evident from comparing the following figure dynamics with prior figure dynamics:

Put differently, current better performance by the U.S. compared to the EU27 in the second wave of the pandemic in terms of daily deaths counts is unlikely to remain for much longer. EU27 daily deaths trend appears to have peaked about a week ago, while the U.S. deaths trend remains upward-running. 

Little comfort for the wicked... right? 

As the chart above shows, even with more favourable deaths dynamics during the current wave of the pandemic, the U.S. deaths per capita remain horrifically above those in the EU27. Worse, over the last four days, we are seeing some tentative signs that the EU27 daily deaths counts might be moderating. Meanwhile, the opposite is taking place in the U.S.

4/12/20: COVID19 Update: Countries with > 100,000 cases

As of today, 67 countries around thee world have registered > 100,000 cases of COVID19. Here are the summary tables of core statistics covering these countries:

Summary stats:

Since the start of the second wave of the pandemic in Europe, EU27 are now once again having higher share of contributions to overall death counts (18.5% of world's total) than the corresponding share for thee U.S. (18.3%). Actual gap is 0.172 percentage points. However, in more recent days, EU27 new case numbers have been falling, while those in the U.S. continue to rise. This suggests that in weeks to come we are likely to see another reversal in deaths shares.

Just two weeks ago, combined share of global deaths accounted for by G7 countries plus Spain stood at 34.5%. Today, it is at 35.0%. For the U.S. the number shifted from 18.6% to 18.3% currently, while for the EU27 it rose from 16.6% to 18.5%. This clearly highlights the shift in the pandemic impact toward Europe in the last two weeks.

U.S. mortality rate from COVID19 has moderated over the last two weeks, falling from 21.9 deaths per 1,000 cases to 19.54. For the EU27, mortality actually rose from 23.0 to 23.3.

Overall, the worst performing country across three metrics of cases per capita, deaths per capita and deaths per 1,000 cases is Belgium, followed by Peru and Spain. Italy ranks the fourth, Argentina the fifth and the UK ranks the 6th worst performer,

The U.S. ranks 7th worst and the EU27 ranks 21st worst. 

24 countries have more than 500,000 cases and 14 have more than 1,000,000 cases. The U.S. is the only country with more than 10,000,000 cases at 14,139,703. The second largest number of cases is in India at 9,571,559. Brazil is the third with 6,487,084 cases. Only seven countries recorded more than 50,000 deaths so far, of which four recorded more than 100,000 deaths. The U.S. has the largest number of total COVID19-linked deaths in the world (276,316), followed by Brazil (175,270) and India (139,188).