May 08, 2020

Reading List for May 8-10

The country took time to recognize some VIPS this week: Teachers and Nurses, and Mothers will have their day on Sunday.  “Thank You” seems an inadequate expression of our gratitude, especially now! You (teachers) inspire me with your energy, creativity, and agility in providing quality instruction and heartfelt support for your students during this challenging time.


And now for the reading list:



  • Unemployment reached historic levels in April of 14.7%. Remember that the BLS figure is a mid-month measure, and we hit a historic low of 3.5% just two months ago. Other figures to remember: if you count the furloughed employees expecting to return to work, the figure would be 20%, and if you include those who have given up looking for work, the figure jumps to 22.8%. (MarketWatch) At the peak (trough) of the Great Recession, unemployment hit 10%.
  • Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashakari explains why this BLS number was likely to understate true unemployment on the Today show earlier this week. (NBC)
  • On Thursday we learned that new unemployment claims totaled 3.16 million, bringing the pandemic claims to a “staggering” 33 million. (CBS-video) Historical perspective: during the Great Recession, 7.5 million people lost jobs over 18 months.
  • On a positive note, 77% of people currently unemployed believe they will be returning to their jobs according to a Washington Post-IPSOS poll. (WAPO)
  • Here is a graphical representation of which industries were hit hardest. (CNBC) It may surprise some, healthcare took a hit as many medical and dental practices shut down, and elective surgeries were cancelled.
  •  Screen Shot 2020-05-08 at 10.38.35 AM



  • In other economic news, another remarkable statistic came out this week: the US Treasury plans to borrow a record 3 trillion dollars in the second quarter. (Marketwatch)


Pandemic Winners and Losers (Investing)


  • Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are seeing a surge in demand as traditional meat supply chain is in a crisis. (EcoWatch)
  • The very wealthy are turning to Peleton for their exercise. (Forbes)
  • Fortnite hits 350 million registered players, up 100 million in 12 months! (The Verge)



  • The sharing economy is hurting in this pandemic. (NYT-subscription)
  • J Crew files for bankruptcy. (NY Post)
  • Neiman Marcus files for bankruptcy. (Axios)
  • Gold’s Gym (Forbes) files for bankruptcy.


  • In other investing news, Robinhood continues to chug along despite some technical glitches in March as the market went crazy and successfully raised another $280 million in funding. (Business Insider)



Higher Ed

  • Here is Cheryl Winokur Munk’s timely article: (WSJ – subscription) “How to Appeal Financial-Aid Decisions.” The CNBC coverage of this was in last week’s list.
  • Apparently it has been up to the individual institutions determine what happens to students’ Federal work-study income after being sent home this semester. (Inside Higher Ed)
  • There is much uncertainty about what college campuses will look like in the fall. Will professors come back to teach? They didn’t sign up for teaching remotely, but will they feel comfortable teaching in person? (Inside Higher Ed)


Student Loans

  • Student loan expert Adam Minsky helps sort out the differences between the various student loan forgiveness programs in Forbes.


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