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Daily COVID-19 Updates: May 6

May 6, 2020
Manufacturers Helping Manufacturers; A Million Manufacturing Jobs Lost to COVID-19 in April; GM Narrowly Avoids Quarterly Losses;

There are two waves to pay attention to in the coming days. The first wave is the wave of unemployment first detected in March, when rates of unemployment insurance claims spiked, first to over 3 million and then to 6 million before beginning a slow deceleration. Despite the peak of the wave having passed, this wave continues to wreak havoc on the jobs market. Although the rate of unemployment claims is declining, it still remains in the millions of new claims per week. Like a storm surge, the slow deceleration, although welcome, means that millions of Americans are still swamped by lost jobs every week.

The second wave is the dreaded “second wave” of COVID-19 infections that infectious disease experts caution may follow the current trend in both Europe and America of relaxing quarantine standards. President Trump tweeted today that the White House task force on the coronavirus would continue meeting indefinitely, with a focus on “safety and opening up our country again.” Yesterday, it was announced that the task force would look at wrapping up their duties by early June.

ADP National Employment Report Breaks Down Wave of Layoffs

More information on the tsunami of layoffs that struck the U.S. economy in March and continued cresting through April came out today. The private business research institute ADP released its employment report, which uses information collected from anonymous clients of the business intelligence firm to gauge the state of the workforce market. That information, ADP says, reveals that the nonfarm private sector lost 20,236,000 jobs between March 12 and April 12. The worst-hit sector was leisure and hospitality, with more than 7 million jobs lost, and manufacturing was fourth with over a million. Read the full story here.

General Motors Narrowly Avoids Quarterly Losses

Although it reported a negative impact of $1.4 billion related to the COVID-19 outbreak, General Motors Company reported today that it had managed to avoid a net loss in income for the first quarter of 2020. GM managed to rake in $294 million in net income—down 87.6% compared to the first quarter of 2019, but still positive. That news comes a day after Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles announced they had lost $1.8 billion, and a week after Ford reported $2 billion in lost cash. In a statement, the company said it as putting “considerable planning” towards resuming its North American operations, but didn’t specify a date. Read the full story here.

Manufacturers Helping Each Other

The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, AASA, announced yesterday they would combine with APA Search, an executive search firm that specializes in the automotive and transport industries, to produce a free platform intended to match automotive and transportation employers with automotive associates who’ve lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis.

In statement, APA Search President Howard Kesten expressed his hope that the database would grow by word-of-mouth. “If we’ve done our job correctly and reached the right people, the database should grow exponentially during the first 30 days,” he said. Automotive associates who have lost their positions and would like to be found can register at Automotive employers who would like to search the database can register at

Manufacturers Making a Difference

In a statement today, Ford Motors announced that it and collaborator 3M had begun shipping their powered air-purifying respirators, or PAPRs. The PAPRs are an alternative face mask compared to N95 masks that uses fans to blow purified air through a HEPA filter into a hood. According to Ford, the first customers of the PAPRs built by Ford was Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. 

About the Author

Ryan Secard | Associate Editor


Focus: Workforce and labor issues; machining and foundry management

Associate Editor Ryan Secard covers topics relevant to the manufacturing workforce, including recruitment, safety, labor organizations, and the skills gap. Ryan has written IndustryWeek's Salary Survey annually since 2021 and has coordinated its Talent Advisory Board since September 2023.

Ryan got started at IndustryWeek in August 2019 as an editorial intern and was hired as a news editor in 2020 before his 2023 promotion to associate editor, talent. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Wooster.

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