Today the US Commerce Department released its official economic report from Q2, and we kind of wish they hadn’t. The results are that bad. America’s GDP fell at an annualized rate of 32.9%, the steepest quarterly contraction in history and the latest indicator of Covid-19’s severe impacts to the economy. At the same time, this week’s unemployment claims report shows a second consecutive period of increased layoffs. The news comes against the backdrop of ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks across the country and a breakdown of stimulus package negotiations in Washington. We’ll get another hit of economic news over the weekend when the federal government publishes July’s updated unemployment rate.
Unpronounceable storm to cause unhelpful disruption.
The latest forecast shows Tropical Storm Isaias (pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs, with the emphasis on the third syllable) passing the east side of Florida and heading toward the Carolinas, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm set the record for the earliest “I” storm. The storm’s forecast track has shifted to the east, with the center of that track keeping the core of the storm slightly off the shores of South Florida, but almost the entire state remains in the forecast path. In preparation for the storm, the state is closing its Covid-19 testing sites today. Florida’s Division of Emergency Management said that its testing sites cannot hold up to the threat of a potential tropical cyclone because they include tents and other free-standing structures. State officials said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution to protect both the people who need to be tested and those administering the tests. Testing sites will reopen as the severe weather threat passes, and all sites are expected to reopen by Wednesday at the latest. Little change in the tropical storm’s strength is expected until landfall in the Dominican Republic later today, with re-strengthening predicted on Friday and Saturday. This is the ninth named storm of 2020, and we still have four months to go.
With 18 days until the Democratic convention begins, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden confirmed he will announce his vice president selection next week. His VP selection will take the stage at the convention and accept the nomination in Milwaukee. Amid intense media speculation and pundit chatter, it really is anyone’s guess who he will pick. The lengthy background interview process has been completed, leaving the critically important one-on-one interviews between Biden and his potential picks. There are a number of factors going into Biden’s important decision that go far beyond politics. Biden has stated he wants a vice president who is ideologically aligned with him, who has strong relationships on Capitol Hill and has intense interest in foreign policy. While Vegas odds makers are giving Senator Kamala Harris the edge, Biden has said he has not narrowed the list or made a final decision. Many are encouraging him to pick candidate of color with Congresswoman Karen Bass, former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, Florida’s own Congresswoman Val Demings, along with Senator Harris, still in contention. Other names mentioned are Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Tammy Duckworth and Governor Gretchen Whitmer.