Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of April 27, 2020.
Make sure to check back during the week as we update these stories.
Worker woes continue. 4.4 million people filed for unemployment last during the third week of April, pushing the total number of jobless claims to 26 million since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. The unemployment rate is expected to reach 15% this month, the highest rate since the Great Depression and it could go to 18% or higher, according to some labor experts. Politico and CNBC.
Small biz, big problems. The House passed a $484 billion emergency spending bill on Friday, April 23, aimed specifically at replenishing a bailout fund for the nation’s small businesses. The original $350 billion fund, which provided loans to enable businesses to pay their employees, ran out of money within days due to overwhelming demand. Big businesses—companies that have more than 500 employees— have been criticized for snatching up loans from the program meant for smaller companies. (Burger chain Shake Shack, which employs 8,000 people returned $10 million after an outcry. Ruth’s Chris Steak house also returned $20 million.) The new fund, which brings emergency government spending during the pandemic to $3 trillion, will replenish something called the Paycheck Protection Program, and it will also provide emergency business loans and grants to smaller businesses, as well as financial help for hospitals and health-care providers in states. Washington Post.
Stay at home and stream. Netflix added nearly 16 million new subscribers globally in the first quarter, double the amount it had forecast, and easily breezing past its prior record of 9 million new subscribers for the first quarter of 2019. Netflix is engaged in a streaming war with companies including Apple, Amazon, Disney, and AT&T, which owns HBO. Approximately 1.5 billion people around the world are under stay-at-home orders during the pandemic. Marketwatch and AP.
We have the meats, for now. Covid-19 has caused some pork, beef, and poultry plants to close temporarily. As a result, meat shortages are expected in the next several weeks. In the U.S., production of pork has fallen by one-third, with Smithfield closing plants in South Dakota and most recently, Illinois and Tyson Foods closing two of its pork plants. Hormel Foods also announced last week that it would close two locations for Jennie-O turkey production in Minnesota, and JBS said it would close a beef plant in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the coronavirus has forced processing facility closures in Brazil and Canada, which together with the United States, account for 65% of the world’s meat production. Bloomberg, CNN, and CNBC.
Find out what we covered in last week’s Weekly Scan.