Stocks climb…Jobless rate spikes to 14.7%, highest since Great Depression…Democrats push for aid to small communities
NEW YORK (AP) – Wall Street is rallying again in spite of bad economic news. The S&P 500 was up 1.1% in early trading after the government said employers cut 20.5 million jobs last month. That’s a record, but it’s also slightly less than markets had braced for. Traders are increasingly betting they won’t see another report that bad again because the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits has been slowly declining the last five weeks. Stocks around the world were already heading higher before the U.S. jobs report came out, in part on hopes that U.S. and China won’t restart their trade war.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression, as 20.5 million jobs vanished in the worst monthly loss on record. The figures are stark evidence of the damage the coronavirus has done to a now-shattered economy. The losses reflect what has become a severe recession caused by sudden business shutdowns in nearly every industry. Almost all the job growth achieved during the 11-year recovery from the Great Recession has now been lost in one month.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Top Democrats are promising that smaller cities and towns won’t be left behind in the next coronavirus relief bill. A top Democrat says the bill will contain money for each county in the U.S., along with an equal amount of funding for municipalities. The expansion of federal assistance could cost hundreds of billions of dollars. An earlier, smaller installment of money to local governments was limited to cities with populations greater than 500,000. Republicans also broadly support the effort to disperse more federal aid across the country.
BEIJING (AP) – A Chinese state news agency says U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators promised to create “favorable conditions” for carrying out a truce in their governments’ tariff war during a phone call. The call followed a threat by President Donald Trump to pull out of the agreement if Beijing fails to buy more American goods and services in exchange for Washington suspending planned tariff hikes. The coronavirus pandemic has depressed Chinese demand for imports.
MEXICO CITY (AP) – On a day Mexico saw its worst daily increase yet in coronavirus cases, foreign-owned auto plants began setting dates for reopening. Volkswagen de Mexico said late yesterday that it’s planning to reopen an assembly plant and an engine plant on June 1. General Motors said it hadn’t fixed “an exact date” for reopening its plant, but some workers there reported getting notices to report for work on May 18. Pressure is growing both domestically and from the United States for Mexico to resume activities.