Morning!

I'm sure some of you are sick of talking about Covid/the lockdown, but unfortunately it is still the only major story and is unavoidable.

I'll try to keep this brief with a recap of the latest news:

I remain stunned by the economic and social damage which people are willing to tolerate in the name of combating the spread of the virus.

Boris Johnson says that he won't "throw away all the effort and sacrifice" made so far. Despite rumours last night, he provided no guidance in terms of when or how the lockdown might be ended.

As noted by Daniel Hannan, we are in a wartime mentality where prior costs will be justified by future costs.

The terrifying scale of the damage to the US economy was confirmed last week, with another 4.4 million Americans losing their jobs. That brings the total to 26.5 million since the lockdown policy began in most states.

The US unemployment rate (which will show up officially later) is now estimated to be over 20%. That's the highest level since 1934, the aftermath of the Great Depression.

For countries which persist with lockdown, I don't see why unemployment can't go to 30%, 40%, who knows? I expect it to exceed the Great Depression, unless lockdown ends soon.

The numbers in the UK and Ireland would already be the same or worse than the US, but for governments choosing to pay salaries to keep people officially employed.

In Ireland, for example, I think that around 48% of the total workforce is currently either unemployed, furloughed or getting temporary income support from the government, i.e. out of work for one reason or another.

Of the remaining workforce, I think that around a quarter of them are public sector workers.

To take my mind off things, and do something useful, I spent five hours yesterday turning the soil and removing rocks from the garden of my new house.

Quite appropriate really, given that the global economy is heading back to the Stone…

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