Coronavirus economic updates: US job cuts of 701,000 in March and unemployment rate climbs to 4.4%


The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly evolved from a health crisis to a financial crisis, shutting down business, disrupting entire industries and causing the financial markets to falter.

Here is the latest news on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the economy. To find out more about the financial resources available during the pandemic, click here.

IMF chief calls crisis “the darkest hour in humanity”

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, joined the press briefing from the World Health Organization on Friday, calling the economic impacts of the pandemic “a crisis like no other”.

“Never in the history of the IMF have we seen the world economy stop. We are now in a recession, ”said Georgieva. “It is much worse than the global financial crisis. And this is a crisis that demands that we all come together. “

“WHO is there to protect the health of people. The IMF is there to protect the health of the global economy. They are both under siege, ”she added. “I want to emphasize the message that you and I have sent to the world that saving lives and protecting livelihoods must go hand in hand. We cannot do one without the other. “

She said the IMF is particularly focused on protecting emerging “hard hit” markets and developing economies around the world.

“They very often have fewer resources to protect themselves from these double crises,” she said. “We know that in many countries, health systems are weak. “

The IMF has a $ 1 trillion emergency reserve it is using to provide emergency funding to countries, she added. Over 90 countries have already applied for funds.

Georgieva also called the crisis “the darkest hour in humanity” and called for multilateral cooperation to protect the world’s most vulnerable.

Under Armor will temporarily lay off employees of US stores

Sportswear brand Under Armor announced on Friday that it will temporarily lay off all employees at its stores and retail outlets and about 600 people at its distribution centers in the United States, effective April 12. The company has announced that it will cover the health benefits of eligible employees “for approximately two months during this period of temporary layoff.” “

In addition, Under Armor said it was extending its current store closings “until further notice”.

Retailers like Macy’s and The Gap have already announced similar measures as the pandemic shakes the retail industry.

Under Armor said its board of directors and senior staff with titles of executive vice president and senior will receive 25% compensation for the duration of the crisis.

“In these unprecedented and difficult times, the majority of stores where Under Armor is available remain closed, contributing to a significant drop in revenues,” said president and chief executive officer of the brand, Patrik Frisk, in a statement. “We don’t take these decisions lightly and do everything we can to minimize the impact on our teammates during this period. Because of the strength of our brand and the actions we have taken, we will weather this storm. “

White House chief economic adviser says US economy will “get worse”

Larry Kudlow, the president’s chief economic adviser, warned of the dire economic situation facing the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It will get worse in the coming weeks, no doubt about it,” he told reporters on Friday. “We haven’t seen the worst, I don’t want to coat. “

Kudlow also did not mince words when asked on Fox News if the country was considering the potential for double-digit unemployment figures, saying, “They are going to look terrible in the weeks to come. How long, I don’t really want to predict… but there is no doubt that it will be bad. “

His remarks on Friday marked a sharp turnaround in the tone of the administration just a few weeks ago.

On March 6, Kudlow said there was no need to “massively throw federal money on people’s plans” and that the administration was considering “micro” economic stimulus.

Kudlow said on Friday that the government was focusing on the $ 2 trillion economic stimulus package, adding, “If we have to do more, we will do more.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pledges $ 100 million donation to US food banks

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has announced that it is contributing $ 100 million to Feeding America, which will help replenish food banks and pantries in times of economic uncertainty.

“Nonprofit food banks and pantries rely heavily on food surpluses from a range of food businesses. For example, many restaurants donate excess food. But during this period of social distancing, restaurants are closed, and many other normal channels of excess food have also stopped, “wrote Bezos in an Instagram article announcing the donation. “To make matters worse, as supply declines, the demand for food bank services increases. “

Bezos is currently at the top of Forbes’ list of billionaires, with an estimated net worth of around $ 117 billion.

The donation comes just days after a group of Amazon workers in a New York warehouse quit their job, demanding that the company shut down and thoroughly clean the facility amid the COVID-19 epidemic .

The United States cuts 701,000 jobs in March amid a coronavirus pandemic, with an unemployment rate of 4.4%

American employers cut 701,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell from 3.5% to 4.4%, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The new report released on Friday is the first to show the first effects of the new coronavirus pandemic on the American job market.

The COVID-19 epidemic has stopped American businesses. At least 45 states have released or announced statewide closures of all non-essential companies to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

According to the government, some of the largest job losses have occurred in the leisure and hotel industries, particularly in food services. Significant losses also occurred in health care / social assistance, professional / commercial services, retail trade and construction.

Jordyn Phelps and Kirit Radia of ABC News contributed to this report.


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