The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. The following are recent developments Friday related to the global economy, the workplace and the spread of the virus.
SOCIAL MEDIA DISTANCING
Social media companies have actively sought to quash misinformation that has led to dangerous behavior. This while the pandemic disrupts internal operations across the tech sector.
— Facebook employees will work remotely until at least the end of May. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that employees who feel they can’t return to offices will be allowed to work remotely through at least the summer.
— Digital news publisher Vox Media, which is furloughing about 100 people, or 9% of its staff, without pay from May to July, and is cutting pay temporarily between 15% and 25% for those who earn at least $130,000. Salaries for both its CEO and president will be cut in half. The company, which publishes New York magazine and blogs including Vox, Eater and SB Nation, expects revenue declines in the tens of millions.
Darkened storefronts tell the story of what has happened to the retail sector and emerging economic data paints an even darker picture.
— In a letter to Congress, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which counts among members Best Buy, Walmart and The Gap, asked Congress to allow furloughed and laid off retail workers to accept part-time work shifts without a reduction in state unemployment benefits.
— Walmart, meanwhile, says it plans to hire another 50,000 workers to meet surging demand for essentials after reaching its goal to add 150,000 new workers six weeks ahead of schedule. The nation’s largest private employer announced its hiring plans in mid-March and expected to complete the hiring at the end of May.
It says it received more than one million applicants for the mostly temporary or part-time jobs that could become permanent. It worked with more than 70 companies in the hospitality, restaurant and retail industry that have furloughed workers.
Boeing suffered another setback over its 737 Max on Friday, as General Electric Co.’s aircraft-leasing arm canceled an order for 69 of the planes, which have been grounded for more than a year after two crashes. GE Capital Aviation Services referred to less need for planes by airline customers. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s passenger planes are grounded because of a sharp drop in travel during the coronavirus pandemic, and Boeing removed about 300 Max jets from its order book last month.
Boeing also said it will resume production Monday at facilities near Philadelphia that produce military helicopters after a two-week shutdown due to the coronavirus. The announcement came a day after Boeing said it will resume production at commercial jet-assembly plants in the Seattle area, which shut down after some workers tested positive for the virus.
THE CAR BIZ
Manufacturing has come to a standstill and it is unknown when major industrial players will be able to restart plants.
— Ford Motor Co. now expects to post a $2 billion first-quarter loss. The automaker also floated $8 billion in bonds on Friday at interest rates ranging from 8.5% per year to 9.625%. They mature from 2023 to 2030. The company is raising cash to make sure it gets through the virus crisis. Ford’s U.S. factories have been shut down for about four weeks, cutting off the company’s main source of revenue. It is hoping to restart factories in the second quarter.