Trump Asks States to Hide Unemployment Claim Data

Mish

The US dept of Labor told states to suppress specific unemployment claim data.

Please consider the Trump administration’s plea to states: Keep Mum About Unemployment Stats.

The Trump administration is asking state labor officials to delay releasing the precise number of unemployment claims they are fielding, an indication of how uneasy policymakers are about further roiling a stock market already plunging in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

In an email sent Wednesday, the Labor Department instructed state officials to only “provide information using generalities to describe claims levels (very high, large increase)” until the department releases the total number of national claims next Thursday.

The email, which was shared with The New York Times, noted that the reports were monitored closely by financial markets and should therefore remain embargoed. “States should not provide numeric values to the public,” wrote Gay Gilbert, the administrator of the department’s Office of Employment Insurance.

Ms. Gilbert has worked at the Labor Department under presidents of both parties, and there has been no indication that she was urged by political appointees to make the request. But President Trump has privately expressed irritation at the dire predictions of some of his advisers, most notably when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers that unemployment could reach 20 percent this year.

Robert O’Brien, the [Pennsylvania] deputy secretary of labor and industry, said the government had been overwhelmed by a flood of unemployment insurance claims — 180,000 just in the last few days. He said that was far more than the state usually gets in a whole month.

The situation may be even more dire in Washington, the first epicenter of the contagion in the U.S. State officials there would only say they are seeing an “even more dramatic increase this week” after unemployment claims soared 150 percent last week from the week before.

Who Made this Moronic Decision?

Given that communication is supposed to travel through Vice President Mike Pence it should at least be at that level.

Apparently the data is better if no one sees it.

Yeah right.

In practice, this makes people more nervous about what the government is hiding.

Regardless of who made the decision, Trump is responsible for it. If Gay Gilbert made the decision and Trump does not agree then she should be fired on the spot.

If Trump agrees with it or ordered it, he is a fool to think the data can or should be suppressed.

People will now demand to see the data, and rightfully so.

Estimating the Unemployment Rate

In case you missed it, please see 9% of the US Has Been Laid Off Due to the Coronavirus.

I crunched the SurveyUSA poll numbers and if they are accurate estimate an unemployment rate of 12.0% with the U6 Underemployment rate at a staggering 39.7%.

If close, it's no wonder Trump wants to hide the numbers.

What's next, banning polls?

Meanwhile ...

That seals the deal on a massive spike in the unemployment rate.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (71)
No. 1-31
abend237-04
abend237-04

I can at least empathise with kind hearted intentions to soften the blow, but my Darwin prize goes to the kids crowding the beaches for Spring break, and especially their parents.

Tengen
Tengen

As we saw in 2008-2009, US gov felt it was imperative to keep unemployment figures in single digit territory and it looks like this hasn't changed. Does the country really feel better due to more palatable monthly BLS stats?

I was only half joking the other day when I suggested a new hedonic adjustment for pandemics. Looks like this will become reality and we can have fun playing the "what if" game, living in an alternate reality without that pesky coronavirus.

abend237-04
abend237-04

@Tengen I like it; If I'm running the inflation report and already exclude food and energy, I can damn well exclude pandemics too. Consider it done.

Irondoor
Irondoor

Doesn't matter. It will come out eventually.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

Wall Street has its own set of number crunchers and trend trackers. The BLS just gives them reassurance their methodologies are correct. Grass roots unemployment data will be generated through social media apps. A time series of satellite imaging of factory parking lots is already being used to estimate economic activity.

CzarChasm-Reigns
CzarChasm-Reigns

Trump now proclaims himself a wartime president, and...

“The first casualty when war comes is truth.”
Republican Senator Hiram W Johnson (1917).

I believe Trump "got the cart before the horse" and he is "on a roll" now (and always has been). Bigly.

tokidoki
tokidoki

How has it come to this? Next week, no country will allow entry to Americans.

Carl_R
Carl_R

Denying the numbers should spook the market, for sure. I'd guess we'll have another big drop tomorrow. Every time Trump tries to "calm" the markets, he scares the hell out of them. If he treated them as noise, and just dealt with the problems, they would be a lot calmer.

stillCJ
stillCJ

Editor

Why hasn't Trump gone Howard Beale yet? Yell out the window as loud as possible "It's the end of the world as we know it! Find a cave and shelter in place!". Seriously do we really need to add more fuel to the panic fire? I am glad Trump is trying to reduce the panic, and I'm tired of pandemic news. What else ya got?

ohno
ohno

lmao almost 40% nothing to see here move along. We're so screwed.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Sad to say but the more I see of Trump and coronavirus the more it seems like he doesnt want to help. We kind of know the origins of the virus but we arent 100% sure. It looks and sounds ridiculous to say but if someone were to create the perfect virus that stays alive long enough to spread and wreak havoc on the system then this would be pretty close. If Trump can cancel an election I believe he would. Should this extend into election day I have no doubt the election will be postponed or cancelled.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Will BLS even report the number on April 3rd ? If not welcome to Amerika.

silvermitt
silvermitt

Damn. Trump is now Hoover. I was hoping this wouldn't happen, but between the FED and this disease, yeah...November isn't looking good so good. For either candidates, imo.

BaronAsh
BaronAsh

This is a very unusual situation. Nearly all the hits to business the economy is going through are due to quarantining. It's not typical 'business cycle' stuff. Stats designed to present a picture of typical cyclical ebbs and flows will - even assuming they are accurate which is another issue - perhaps distort or exaggerate what is going on in this pretty much one-off type situation.

Today Trump said he thinks we are going to go through a V-bottom experience, in other words a sharp spike down (both on the charts and in economic activity due to quarantining) followed by a just as sharp spike up. There is a chance he will be proven correct in this.

If he is wrong and we are going into a longer term slowdown as the global supply chain is reconfigured, then his Presidency is possibly toast, and this will be an extreme challenge for the country.

It should all be clear within a month or two.

I deliberately don't mention the massive debts and structural issues which long ago I had to humbly confess to not understanding at all. I thought the system would crash down in the 70's and every decade thereafter and have been wrong all the time. I still think it should crash down now but have given up thinking about that one way or the other at all. Now: if this crisis can somehow get the US petrodollar business sorted, annul the Fed and go to national credit, cut the USG down to size (like 75% less), well that would be fine and dandy. But not holding breath....

LB412
LB412

In such volatile times I’m ok waiting until Thursday to get a legitimate number. We all know it’s going to be awful.

Realist
Realist

Truth, facts, and reality are crucial for everyone. I learned that many years ago, and it has been an essential factor in my success in life.

It is why I am apolitical.

It is why I shake my head at all the idiots and their ridiculous conspiracy theories.

It’s why I trust in science.

Trump lives in an alternate reality. He wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped him in the face.

It is obvious who ordered the suppression of these statistics. The same person who has altered what his own experts have said, 10 seconds after they say it.

I have watched Trump attempt to alter reality for the last 3 years. He is an example of “you can fool some of the people all of the time”. Fox News is an example.

But eventually, all but the most brain-dead, realize the truth, because you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

Reality eventually punches you in the face.

What should becoming clearer to most Americans, is they elected the worst ever President in US history. And no matter how he tries to lie and sugar coat things, the emperor has no clothes.

WarpartySerf
WarpartySerf

R.E. the sickening insider trading by Congress over the last 2 months - They should all be prosecuted and jailed. (right).

All Congressional members should show us their last 2 months of trading. Let's see how our jack booted leaders did for themselves.

njbr
njbr

For those of you thinking this will be a V shaped recovery, I admire your optimism.

First, there is no clear end date to the restrictions placed by the attempt to control the spread of the virus. Look at China--due to early and drastic intervention they confined the illness to one province. In the US, every state has cases--where can the fire-break be made? Are the places that are economically significant in the US already infected?

Second, huge portions of the economy are dead in the ditch. Many large businesses and almost all of those small businesses that are now closed operated on momentum that is now interrupted. Start-up effort and costs will be monumental--beyond the reach of many.

njbr
njbr

Mass testing is, was and will be the way to contain this virus. Otherwise, with asymptomatic transmission, there is no hope of containment with cases in 50 states.

xardoz
xardoz

Hey not reporting numbers is working for China, why not us? I mean do we really believe their numbers? Yet I see people continue to quote how great a job they have done and how can we replicate their success, and even use their data as a basis to predict our outcome....I do not agree with suppressing the data, but I do not see an outrage on China's blatant suppression.

njbr
njbr

Those of you that doubt China's number--I get it. But there is no leakage of stories or rumors of mass illness and deaths outside of the Hubei region. There are no instant "hospitals" being built. There is no secondary evidence of the spread beyond Hubei.

jeco
jeco

Next Thursday's US national data will be delayed and/or inaccurate

billybobjr
billybobjr

Same ole same ole if you like the numbers you use the numbers if you don't like them you say the numbers are bad ,Mish is good at this . My belief is the death numbers are probably fairly accurate but the infection is way under reported . Of course that would put the death rate way lower than currently being hyped .

lol
lol

Trump thinks he's Putin,that the US is the USSA or the new vo Soviet Union, Chump has embraced MMT and neo fascism

davebarnes
davebarnes

"What's next, banning polls?"
Why are you giving his sycophants ideas?

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

"The US dept of Labor told states to suppress specific unemployment claim data."

And where are Pelosi / Schumer on this??

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

"That seals the deal on a massive spike in the unemployment rate."

There are so many exceptions to this. California tech economy will stay in tact as it is considered infrastructure and exempt. There are so many loopholes for infrastructure. If you an show that you need some employees at work and provide services to infrastructure then you are exempt. This is a joke of a quarantine compared to Wuhan. Some Chinese doctors went to Italy and laughed at their quarantine. Literally every shop and restaurant was open and people were walking around like nothing was going on.

RonJ
RonJ

"The Trump administration is asking state labor officials to delay releasing the precise number of unemployment claims they are fielding, an indication of how uneasy policymakers are about further roiling a stock market already plunging in response to the coronavirus outbreak."

Governor Cuomo has ordered all non essential businesses in New York State to close. Even without a precise accounting of the unemployment that will cause, the stock market would be bound to notice that means a lot of people and businesses won't be working. The stock market would expect other states to follow Cuomo's move, as well.

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

"What's next, banning polls?": The Greatest Stable Genius will launch a war somewhere!

George Phillies
George Phillies

For Massachusetts:

The state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development was flooded with unemployment claims Monday (March 16).

There were 19,884 unemployment claims filed Monday, more than four times the amount for the entire first week of March.

For the week ending March 7, the latest figures available, 4,667 people filed claims


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