Despite the warnings, the federal government largely left it to states to detect which applications are fake. But state workforce agencies, stymied by decades-old IT systems and flooded with applications, have been ill-equipped to find and prevent the fraud, which appears to be far more extensive than the usual attempts to bilk government programs. Now states are asking for help.

“We’re fighting this fight with ’70s era technology with some modern Band-Aids put on top of it,” Ryan Wright, Kansas’ acting secretary of Labor, said in an interview. “I would like to have seen a more aggressive response from the federal government.”

Last year, Wright said, his agency had no cases of impostors using fake employers to apply for benefits; in recent months, it has stopped 55,000 such claims. The fraud “now is reaching a scope that is difficult for states to weed through,” he said.

Labor Department Communications Director Megan Sweeney told POLITICO in a statement that the agency “is actively working with all states to combat fraud in UI programs,” especially in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which expanded jobless benefits to the self-employed. “The Department requires states to work with the Department’s Office of the Inspector General and to work collaboratively with other federal, state, and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute fraud and to work closely with financial institutions to recover fraudulent payments,” Sweeney added.

State officials are seeing big surges in unemployment applications indicating that criminals are trying to game the system. And while they have been successful at blocking some of the theft attempts, the sheer scale is making it difficult to stop entirely.

Colorado officials estimated that three-quarters of unemployment applications they received over the summer were fraudulent, and they reported averting as much as $1 billion in attempted thefts. But criminals still may

The nation’s export performance is unlikely to improve anytime soon.

After narrowing earlier this year as the pandemic arrived on American shores, the goods deficit swelled in recent months. Aggressive U.S. crisis-fighting efforts that gave consumers $1,200 stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits fueled a surge in imports, while weak demand from abroad left U.S. exports depressed.

“There doesn’t seem to be any real bright spot that’s going to drag us out of this long, hard slog,” said economist Megan Greene, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Economies in Europe, Japan, Brazil and India all will suffer deeper recessions this year than the United States. U.S. output is expected to drop by 4 percent in 2020 while Europe will experience a roughly 7 percent decline, according to S&P Global Ratings. And the outlook through the first half of next year is for more of the same, economists said.

“The recession is truly global in nature. Every country was impacted. Every country has seen a decline in demand,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist with Oxford Economics.

Among major economies, China is alone in seeing activity largely return to normal. But the Chinese government has responded to the pandemic by boosting exports rather than spurring domestic consumption. So unlike in 2009 when a Chinese stimulus helped lift other nations out of recession, Beijing this time is providing little help for the global economy.

“Last time, China dragged us all out of recession. This time around, it hasn’t really happened,” said Greene.

U.S. imports have virtually recovered their pre-pandemic high thanks to the $2 trillion economic rescue package passed by Congress in March, which supported consumer spending and encouraged retailers to replenish their depleted inventories.

But anemic foreign demand is hurting capital goods producers, auto companies and industrial

The pressing challenges posed by the pandemic and the deepest recession in living memory will soon shift attention elsewhere.

Nonetheless, it’s troubling to discover that a Wall Street titan was manipulating one of the world’s most liquid securities markets — U.S. Treasury futures — long after the practice was outlawed. This shows how traders often remain fixed in their old ways. Keeping behavior in check is incredibly difficult even for those banks that can afford the most sophisticated surveillance.

Years after global lenders were caught rigging interest-rate benchmarks and currency markets, costing them billions of dollars in fines, their employees were still finding ways to work the markets to their own advantage. Once regulators catch up with one practice, traders seem to simply find another way.

Spoofing — placing a bid or offer with the intent to cancel it before executing — became illegal under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. In JPMorgan’s case, the practice appears to have been widespread. During the years covered by this case, between 2008 and 2016, the bank’s traders placed hundreds of thousands of spoof orders, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which helped lead the investigation.

Specifically, the company admitted to being responsible for 15 traders’ wrongdoing when they placed orders they didn’t intend to execute in the precious metals and Treasury markets. Half a dozen employees face charges for manipulating gold and silver futures and the bank has entered a three-year deferred prosecution agreement over two counts of wire fraud.

In fairness, it was always going to take a while for the finance industry to adjust to the spoofing ban. Traders are allowed to place and cancel orders, and masking their real intent is how the market has always worked. A trader wants to conceal their own strategy to secure the best price.