Stocks slip…US sheds 701,000 jobs…Disney theme parks to furlough workers…Small biz rescue off to spotty start
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are moving lower in morning trading on Wall Street after the government reported that more than 700,000 jobs were lost last month. The dismal jobs numbers were expected, with businesses shut down across the country and around the world as people stay home in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, and investors were fully expecting to see such dismal jobs numbers. The price of oil continues to rise, helping to boost to energy stocks. European and Asian stocks were down.
WASHINGTON (AP) – A record-long streak of U.S. job growth ended suddenly in March after nearly a decade as employers cut 701,000 jobs because of the viral outbreak that’s all but shut down the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% from a 50-year low of 3.5%. Last month’s actual job loss was likely even larger because the government surveyed employers before the heaviest layoffs hit in the past two weeks. Nearly 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the last two weeks of March, far exceeding the figure for any corresponding period on record.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Growth in the U.S. service sector slowed in March, and a much bigger decline is expected in coming months from all the shutdowns and job layoffs that have occurred because of efforts to contain the coronavirus. The Institute for Supply Management says its service-sector index slowed to 52.5 in March from a reading of 57.3 in February. Any reading above 50 indicates the service sector, where most Americans work, is expanding. But with record layoffs over the past two weeks, economists believe services will fall into a contraction in April.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Walt Disney Co. officials say start furloughing some workers in two weeks at its theme parks resorts in Florida and California. The company says the first wave of furloughs will start April 19. Anyone who is furloughed will remain a Disney employee. A statement didn’t say how many of Walt Disney World’s 75,000 employees or Disneyland’s 31,000 workers would be furloughed. The company has been paying workers and providing health care benefits at its theme park resorts since the parks closed in mid-March due to coronavirus concerns. Disney officials say they don’t know when they’ll be able to re-open many of their businesses.
NEW YORK (AP) – The federal government’s relief program for small businesses is off to a bumpy start, with few businesses able to apply and some big banks saying they’re not ready to process applications. Millions of small businesses are expected to apply for these desperately needed rescue loans from the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which was put in place to help them retain workers and pay bills during the coronavirus pandemic. Some large lenders like Wells Fargo, Huntington Bank and Bank of America said today that they are ready to go. Others like JPMorgan Chase said they wouldn’t accept applications, citing lack of guidance from the Treasury Department.