According to figures released April 29 by the Commerce Department, the gross domestic product of the United States has dropped its growth streak. In the first quarter of 2020, GDP fell at a 4.8% annual rate. That’s the most dramatic dip in GDP since the last quarter of 2008, when it fell 6.3%. The numbers appear to reinforce the International Monetary Fund’s prediction that the economy is entering its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It’s likely the economy will continue to worsen in the coming months as the ripple effect of millions of Americans laid off in March and April is sustained into the next economic quarter.
On the brighter side of things, Gilead Sciences, Inc., announced today that their experimental treatment remdesivir is showing signs of progress for treating COVID-19. Preliminary results from a trial run by the U.S. government show that patients who received remdesivir recovered 31% faster than those who received a placebo. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the finding “highly significant.” He cautioned, however, that data about the drug’s effectiveness still needs to be analyzed.
Safely Restarting Plants:
As the economy slowly returns to life, manufacturers who previously may have struggled with decisions to close their plants are now beginning to struggle with the decision to re-open them, and how to do so safely. Tony Rodriguez and Mike Beauregard, president and senior consultant at Daniel Penn Associates, provide a guideline for best practices while reopening the factory to ensure safe and smooth operations. Read the full story here.
Boeing Cutting Entire Workforce by 10%
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun issued a letter to employees today announcing the Chicago-based aviation manufacturer would reduce its enterprise workforce by 10% through layoffs. Areas of the businesses that are “most exposed” to the COVID-19 downturn may see their workforces cut by more than 15%, including Boeing’s commercial airline production.
According to Calhoun, Boeing will reduce its engine production rates for most aircraft. The COVID-19 outbreak has wreaked havoc on domestic flight demand, and Boeing has suffered losses in plane sales, deliveries, and selective maintenance. GE Electric, which makes engines for Boeing planes, announced a 14% drop in orders and a 13% drop in revenue since this time last year. Read the full story here.
A COVID-19 Story of Collaboration
MasksOn, a nonprofit organization created to address the dire shortage of medical personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic, is repurposing full-face snorkel masks to design and manufacture durable and reusable protective gear for high-risk clinicians in direct contact with COVID-19 patients. The organization brought together engineers and doctors in order to make the innovative design a reality. Read the full story here.