By The Associated Press
The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed as it continues to spread across the world. Here is a look at some of the latest developments Thursday related to the global economy, particular economic sectors, and the workplace:
JOBS: As the coronavirus continues to spread, the jobs of many are disappearing. Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982. The jobs that are impacted by the economic shutdown cross a wide swath of industries.
Luxury retailer Nordstrom will start to furlough a portion of its corporate employees starting April 5 for six weeks. It’s also extending temporary store closures for at least one week, through April 5. It’s unknown how many corporate employees will be furloughed, but they will continue to receive enrolled benefits. In addition, some Nordstrom executives will forgo part of their salary, and both Peter and Erik Nordstrom will decline their salary from April through September. All board members will forgo cash compensation for a six-month period.
There are a few sectors, like those in the food industry, that need to hire as demand for their services surges.
Grocer Stop & Shop will hire at least 5,000 new associates for regular part-time positions in its stores, distribution centers and delivery operations across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Stop & Shop will also be working closely with its partners at the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) and with local businesses that have been forced to lay off or furlough staff to identify potential candidates for opportunities across all shifts and all positions.
HEAVY INDUSTRY: Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett told employees Thursday that the company’s top 300 executives will defer 20% to 50% of their pay for at least five months starting May 1 due to the coronavirus crisis. Executive Chairman Bill Ford will not take a salary for that period. The announcement comes the same day that Ford said it plans to reopen five of its North American assembly plants starting April 14.
DRIVE-THRU SURGE: Wendy’s Co. says its drive-thru business has grown to approximately 90% of overall sales amid the virus outbreak. Like many restaurant operators, Wendy’s is currently not offering sit-down service to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The chain is also suspending stock buybacks and drawing down $120 million under its revolving financing facility of variable funding senior secured notes. Many businesses are taking similar actions to conserve cash and improve their financial flexibility.
TRAVEL: Park Hotels & Resorts is suspending operations at almost half of its 60 hotels to reduce ongoing costs as it deals with softer demand during the virus outbreak. The company is looking for alternative revenue options such as providing temporary lodging for first responders, other medical personnel, military personnel, displaced guests and residents of communities where Park’s hotels are located. Park has drawn the remaining $650 million of its $1 billion unsecured revolving credit facility as a precautionary measure.
WALL STREET: U.S. stocks opened higher after the Senate approved aid late Wednesday to blunt the impact of business shutdowns due to the coronavirus. Global shares are also down after two days of broad gains.
ENTERTAINMENT TAKES HIT: Fitch Ratings said it has downgraded MGM Resorts International’s and MGM China Holding Limited’s outlooks to negative from stable, citing tight financial conditions and the “severe disruption to global gaming caused by the coronavirus outbreak.” MGM has sold and leased back the Bellagio and MGM Grand resorts, its last two flagship Las Vegas Strip assets. Fitch Ratings also said it had put Japan-based Universal Entertainment Corp. on “Rating Watch Negative.” It pointed to the closure of the Okada Manila, an integrated casino resort in the Philippines, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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