Stocks surge…3.3 million seek US jobless aid…Ford wants to reopen 5 assembly plants
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are rising more than 3% early Thursday, putting the market on track for its first three-day rally in six weeks. The gains come despite news of a record surge in claims for unemployment benefits. The S&P 500 has rallied almost 14% since Monday on expectations Congress would pass an unprecedented rescue package for the economy. The bill cleared the Senate last night.
WASHINGTON (AP) – A record-high number of people applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs engulfed the United States in the face of a near-total economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus. The surge in weekly applications for benefits far exceeded the previous record set in 1982. Revenue has collapsed at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms and airlines. Auto sales are plummeting, and car makers have closed factories. Most such employers face loan payments and other fixed costs, so they’re forced to cut jobs to save money.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The House is expected tomorrow to pass a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate passed the legislation by a unanimous vote last night. House members are scattered around the country, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says there will be a voice vote without lawmakers having to return to Washington.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Jerome Powell says the Federal Reserve would provide essentially unlimited lending to support the economy as long as it is damaged by the viral outbreak. In an interview this morning on NBC’s “Today” show, the Fed chair said the bank’s efforts are focused on helping the economy recover quickly once the threat from the virus has passed.
DETROIT (AP) – Ford says it wants to reopen five North American assembly plants in April that were closed because of the threat of coronavirus. The three Detroit automakers suspended production at North American factories March 19 ago under pressure from the United Auto Workers union, which had concerns about members working closely at workstations and possibly spreading the virus. Union spokesman Brian Rothenberg says the UAW is reviewing Ford’s announcement “with great concern and caution.” The company says it’s aiming to reopen its factory in Hermosillo, Mexico, on April 6, followed by its Dearborn truck plant, Kentucky truck plant, the Ohio Assembly Plant and the Transit van line at the Kansas City plant on April 14.