The U.S. economy is facing an unending nightmare. All over the country, economic activity is dramatically slowing down as another recession begins. Hundreds of thousands of businesses are feeling the compounding effects of two years of persistent supply chain disruptions, shutdowns, labor shortages, and soaring inflation. That’s why many of them are starting to announce massive waves of layoffs and store closings in a repeat of scenes last seen during the peak of the pandemic in 2020. At the same time, bankruptcy rates are spiking again, and industry CEOs are warning that this is just the beginning.
We were actually supposed to be witnessing some sort of improvement right now. But instead, companies are announcing mass lay-offs, store closures, and filing for bankruptcy as they face the cumulative effects of hot inflation, supply chain imbalances, and dropping sales. It’s quite hard to believe that the numbers have gotten sob ad in such a short span. According to the Washington Post, we’re still seeing businesses fail at a rate that is absolutely staggering. Over the past two years, approximately 175,000 businesses have permanently closed their doors all across the country. In 2020, after the health crisis broke out, nearly 280 companies declared bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg. In the first half of 2020, at least 110 major companies filed for bankruptcy in America. Now, two years later, the U.S. has seen 221 bankruptcy filings from January to July, S&P Global data shows. The pace at which things are running off the tracks is quite shocking, and more gloomy announcements just keep coming.
Several iconic retailers, even some of the most established ones such as Walmart are having to close locations around the U.S. as consumers’ budgets get squeezed by soaring prices. Grocery stores have not been spared by the challenges across the retail space. Last month, Whole Foods announced the closure of dozens of stores. Shortly after that, two dozens of Sprouts Farmers Market locations were permanently shut down. Starbucks, which closed eye-popping 424 US company-operated stores during its most recent fiscal year is prepared to close even more branches as economic conditions deteriorate. “We are beginning to close stores,” CEO Howard Schultz said in a video posted to Twitter last week. “This is just the beginning. There are going to be many more,” he stressed.
According to Toys ‘R’ Us CEO, the carnage is far from over. During a recent interview with FoxNews, the company’s chief executive officer Gerald Storch warned that in the fall “we’re going to see record bankruptcies in retail”. He emphasized that thousands of mom-and-pop stores will experience a “decimation” of mom-and-pop stores on Main Street.
Recent reports continue to trickle out about the growing number of job cuts across the nation. So far this summer, many major U.S. companies have laid off thousands of employees as executives fear more volatility in financial markets and worsening economic fundamentals. Amongst them, Microsoft reportedly laid off 200 employees in July, less than a month after the California tech giant announced it would cut 2,000 workers, Business Insider reported, The pessimism is rapidly spreading across Silicon Valley. This month, website design company Wix.com made its second round of layoffs of the year, cutting hundreds of employees as company President and COO Nir Zohar noted that “the world is experiencing an economic crisis and we have seen U.S. GDP fall without growth.”
When taking all the sectors of the industry together, there have already been hundreds of thousands of layoffs this year and many more are coming in the months ahead. What we’ve seen so far is just a hint of what is going to happen to this country once we’re into a full-blown recession and dealing with skyrocketing consumer prices and a collapsing job market. In essence, this is exactly what an economic collapse looks like, and unfortunately, it is just getting started.
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