|Weekly, aggregate pay-rolls
Economists define recessions as two quarters-in-a-row where key metrics decline.
The problem with that definition is that a minimum of six months (two quarters is half a year) must pass before a hiccup is officially declared a recession. EVERYBODY knows it is a recession long before it is declared.
In normal economic downturns the pain is relatively wide-spread. Many people have less discretionary money as the hours they are scheduled to work are reduced or their jobs are eliminated.
Early in the downturn most people stop spending as much on trinkets and toys.
Later in the downturn many people start bailing. They start selling some of their toys. A toy being defined as anything not required to carry you to work or sustain life.
If you are a prudent money-manager then you have a few dollars squirreled away and can help the people who need money out. No, you are not exploiting them. They NEED that money more than they want the toy.
This downturn has not seen the number of campers and ATVs and snowmobiles and trailers and lifted trucks parked by the road with For Sale signs in them that other downturns had.
Where did the pain go?
Well, one sector that is absolutely monkey-hammered are owners of rental property. There is a moratorium on evicting tenants who choose to not pay rent. The property owner is still on-the-hook to pay property taxes, maintenance, debt service and even utilities if they are rolled into the rent.
The market for rental properties has been eviscerated. One wonders if it was a plan. Will Feinstein and Pelosi and and the other billionaires in government scoop up thousands of prime properties for pennies on the dollar?
This is a classic Big Government power-play. Buy positions in some obscure industry like solar or ethanol and then write legislation that forces the public to buy the products (or sell them dirt cheap).
Conservatives hate that because it introduces massive distortions in the market and destroys consumers' ability to choose.
The final joke may be on them. Mom had a neighbor who cashed out and moved to San Francisco a year ago to open a bed-and-breakfast. Rotten timing.
Even if buyers materialize to buy properties from distressed sellers in NYC, San Fran and other formerly-trendy cities there is no guarantee that they will regain their trendy status as corporations are forced to recognize the reality of telecommuting.