Jobless rate spikes to 14.7%, highest since Great Depression
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.
Job market meltdown hits most vulnerable workers hardest
BALTIMORE (AP) — The coronavirus has slashed a cruel path of job losses, reduced hours and deep hardship for America’s most vulnerable workers. The 20.5 million jobs lost in April fell disproportionately on African Americans, Latinos, low-wage workers and people with no college education. Friday’s jobs report exposed the deep seams of inequality within the world’s wealthiest nation and the threat they pose to an eventual economic recovery. If the economy is to fully bounce back, those same workers will need to be restored to their jobs. The flow of commerce hinges on their work. And their income supports the consumer spending that fuels most U.S. economic activity. ___
Stocks rise on hopes that awful jobs report marks the bottom
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street rallied again on Friday despite another historic, crushing report on the job market. Employers cut a record-setting 20.5 million jobs last month, but investors are increasingly betting that future jobs reports won’t be as bad due to a resumption of growth later this year. They bought stocks of retailers getting ready to reopen stores and other stocks whose profits stand to benefit as economies slowly reopen. The S&P 500 climbed 1.7% for its fourth gain in five days, and it closed out its first winning week in the last three. Oil and Treasury yields also rose.
Some blame meatpacking workers, not plants, for virus spread
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As coronavirus hotspots erupted at major U.S. meatpacking plants, experts criticized extremely tight working conditions that made the factories natural high risk contagion locations. But some Midwestern politicians have pointed the finger at the workers’ living conditions, suggesting crowded homes bear some blame. The comments include a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice’s remark that an outbreak didn’t seem to have come from “regular folks.” Outraged employees and advocates call the comments elitist and critical of immigrants in the meatpacking workforce. The remarks came amid public gratitude for other essential workers like police officers, health care professionals and grocery store workers.
Milan mayor lashes out at revelers breaking virus rules
MILAN (AP) — The mayor of Milan has reacted furiously to images of young people ignoring social distancing rules as they gathered in trendy neighborhood for the typical aperitivo. Mayor Giuseppe Sala warned Friday that “a handful of crazy people” are putting the city’s economic recovery at risk. Sala said in a video address that “there are moments when it is time to get pissed off. And this is one of those moments.” He threatened to close down the popular zone. Milan is the financial heart of Italy and the seat of its hardest-hit region, which has registered about one-third of Italy’s coronavirus cases and half of its deaths.
US, China trade envoys promise ‘favorable conditions’
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. The official Xinhua News Agency said the chief Chinese envoy, Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin promised to “create a favorable atmosphere and conditions” for implementing the “phase one” agreement signed in January.
Virus tracing app raises privacy concerns in India
NEW DELHI (AP) — Governments around the world have turned to mobile tracing apps to help control the spread of the coronavirus. An app in India has exacerbated concerns about digital security and surveillance after the government made it mandatory for all workers, military personnel and stranded Indians abroad who wish to be repatriated. Experts and rights advocates fear the monitoring technology has the potential to compromise civil liberties and give snooping powers to the government. India has no comprehensive data protection law. A billion-member biometric database earlier raised privacy concerns after it was breached.
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 Thursday it is planning to reopen its assembly plant in Puebla state and its engine plant in Guanajuato state on June 1. General Motors said it hadn’t fixed “an exact date” for reopening its plant, also in Guanajuato, 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 reopen activities. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said that could happen by May 17 in areas of the country that haven’t been hit hard by the coronavirus.
The S&P 500 rose 48.61, or 1.7%, to 2,929.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 455.43, or 1.9%, to 24,331.32, and the Nasdaq composite rose 141.66, or 1.6%, to 9,121.32. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 46.71, or 3.6%, to 1,329.64.