Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of June 8, 2020.
Make sure to check back as we update these stories.
Protests across the country. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets over the past week to protest the police killing of George Floyd, an African American man killed while in police custody in Minneapolis in May. In response, some black chief executive officers at major corporations and organizations including Pepsi, Xerox, the Ford Foundation, and Robin Hood have said that the business world needs to do more to support and advance black workers.
- The takeaway: Black executives have urged companies to address imbalances in hiring and pay inequity between white and black workers. Additionally, they have urged companies to do more beyond the “performative,” essentially paying lip service to the idea of racial equality, while promoting policies that may do the opposite.
The Big Apple gets back to work. Following a three-month shutdown that ground the city and state economy to a halt due to Covid-19, up to 400,000 New Yorkers in the manufacturing, retail, and food-service industries returned to work on Monday. New York, which has been the epicenter of Covid-19 illnesses and death in the U.S. since February, 2020, has been under one of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the country. At the height of the epidemic, more than 800 people died in the city each day. The New York State economy lost nearly 2 million jobs.
- The takeaway: New York State is in phase one of its reopening, with plenty of restrictions on the way businesses may start up again, including social distancing and increased health protections for workers and customers. It remains to be seen whether infections spike again with people venturing out again. It will also test changes to social interactions, which include regular public use of masks, gloves, and hand-sanitizers.
Improving jobs picture? May’s unemployment rate dropped to 13.3%, from 14.7% in April, according to the U.S.Department of Labor. Some labor experts had previously forecast the unemployment rate would jump to 20%. The economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May as some people have returned to work following strict stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The takeaway: Part of the drop is related to a “misclassification error,” where workers who had been furloughed, or temporarily laid off, were classified by the DOL as still working. Adjusted for those people, the rate would actually be higher.
Facebook won’t block. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company will revisit its policies regarding content that contain threats of state uses of force, following internal criticism about keeping up a post by the president that many see as inflaming social tensions. Facebook employees conducted a virtual walkout after the company decided not to remove President Trump’s posts condemning protestors over George Floyd’s death. The company will also review policies around content from countries dealing with violent conflicts.
- The takeaway: Facebook’s handling of Trump’s posts differed from Twitter’s. Twitter recently flagged two of the president’s tweets—one about mail-in voting and one about the nationwide protests stemming from Floyd’s death in police custody—urging users to get the facts. Facebook has maintained that it won’t filter posts from politicians.
Find out what we covered in last week’s Scan.