It will be a devastating week for the US economy. There is no playbook -- and stimulus must come fast

CNN Business' Christine Romans explains the government and private options available to those struggling to make mortgage or rent payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Apr 1, 2020 5:41 AM
Updated: Apr 1, 2020 5:41 AM

The economy is cratering deeper than we have seen in our lifetimes. Layoffs are coming so quickly, the state unemployment offices can't keep up. Banks are flooded with calls about upcoming mortgage and loan payments. Downtowns are deserted, malls are closed, bars are empty, and airplanes are grounded.

A sudden stop in the economy so severe, Goldman Sachs economists now forecast real GDP growth of negative 9% in the first quarter and down an astonishing 34% in the second. Economists at Goldman Sachs expect the economy to recover mid-year with a 19% gain in the third quarter.

The biggest economy in the world has stopped. The demise is so swift, it hasn't been reflected yet in the monthly data.

Consider Tuesday morning's consumer confidence report a bit of nostalgia. It will likely show consumers' confidence commensurate with a healthy economy.

Friday's monthly jobs report will barely begin to reflect the devastating fallout in the jobs market. (Possibly the first month of net jobs losses in a decade, but not the earthquake the weekly data are showing.) The survey period was the second week in March, a time when Americans were just waking up to the threat of the virus and social distancing had not yet been implemented.

Economists at Goldman Sachs predict the jobless rate with hit 15% by mid-year.

The window into the carnage comes in the weekly data. We learned last week 3.28 million Americans filed for jobless benefits for the first time.

This week will probably show millions more layoffs. Moody's Analytics chief economist forecasts another 4.5 million first-time filings for jobless benefits this week, which would be the highest in history.

It all makes the quick and efficient rollout of the stimulus incredibly urgent. Promises from the White House to have stimulus checks direct-deposited in three weeks -- and small business loans available Friday -- are aggressive and absolutely necessary. Today is the end of a quarter and tomorrow the beginning of the month. That means bills are due for business and consumers. But the emergency government rescue funds have not arrived yet.

And it can't end there. Rather than an actual "stimulus," this record-setting effort is simply a life-preserver to keep Americans afloat. If done right, it may stop the losses. But more stimulus will have to come later, with more Congressional spending expected and lawmakers signaling they are willing.

Meantime economists have no playbook here for the damage done to the economy.

In just seven weeks, the stock market crashed from record highs. At the worst, the Dow was down more than 30%. Then last week staged the biggest rally since the Great Depression.

The violence of those moves reflects how unprecedented this automatic shut-off of the economy is. And the vast uncertainty of how -- and when -- it will restart.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49063

Reported Deaths: 2732
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11760689
Lake5276246
Elkhart340255
Allen2835133
St. Joseph200169
Cass16429
Hamilton1608101
Hendricks1425100
Johnson1296118
Porter76738
Tippecanoe7359
Clark66844
Madison66764
Bartholomew59145
Vanderburgh5876
LaPorte58326
Howard58058
Kosciusko5624
Marshall5016
Noble48528
LaGrange4779
Jackson4733
Boone45443
Delaware45252
Hancock45236
Shelby43125
Floyd38444
Morgan32731
Monroe30928
Montgomery29720
Grant29626
Clinton2902
Dubois2886
Henry28216
White26610
Decatur25432
Lawrence24825
Dearborn23823
Vigo2388
Warrick22729
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1862
Jennings17712
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14817
Wayne1436
Orange13623
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1247
Jasper1232
Wabash1142
Carroll1102
Fayette1037
Newton9910
Gibson982
Whitley975
Starke943
Randolph804
Huntington782
Jefferson762
Wells751
Fulton721
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Owen501
Adams491
Benton480
Posey450
Sullivan451
Spencer441
Brown421
Blackford392
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio180
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60181

Reported Deaths: 2991
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10879439
Cuyahoga8277383
Hamilton6287206
Lucas2836303
Marion273639
Summit2241207
Pickaway220541
Montgomery220131
Mahoning1861239
Butler167447
Columbiana130960
Stark1156113
Lorain106468
Trumbull99774
Warren89525
Clark7809
Delaware61715
Fairfield60517
Tuscarawas58510
Belmont55522
Medina54332
Lake52920
Licking52012
Miami47531
Portage46159
Wood45251
Ashtabula43744
Clermont4317
Geauga41443
Wayne36552
Richland3515
Allen32841
Mercer2909
Greene2879
Darke25326
Erie25022
Holmes2453
Huron2282
Madison2029
Ottawa16024
Washington14020
Sandusky13814
Crawford1365
Putnam13215
Ross1323
Coshocton1302
Hardin12312
Morrow1181
Auglaize1074
Jefferson922
Union921
Monroe8917
Muskingum891
Hancock831
Preble801
Athens791
Hocking798
Guernsey763
Lawrence740
Williams722
Shelby704
Clinton680
Logan651
Fulton630
Ashland621
Carroll603
Wyandot605
Brown591
Scioto540
Defiance533
Knox531
Fayette480
Highland461
Champaign441
Van Wert420
Perry371
Seneca352
Henry320
Jackson260
Paulding260
Adams241
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia201
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
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Hi: 80° Lo: 66°
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Angola
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
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Huntington
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 74°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
AM Storms, Slightly Cooler Friday
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