The White House today elected to send back a set of guidelines the CDC was preparing to release, calling them “overly prescriptive.” The Trump Administration has emphasized local- and state-level control as the country moves through the COVID-19 threat and generally eschewed comprehensive federal actions. At present, dozens of states have reopened themselves for business, albeit with some restrictions in place, others have urged caution and renewed existing quarantine orders.
Despite some fears of a second wave of infections following prematurely relaxed quarantines, many businesses are eager to get back to business. Ford Motors announced they would resume production in North America on May 18.
3.3 Million More File for Unemployment Benefits
According to the latest unemployment insurance claims from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 3,169,000 more people claimed unemployment benefits in the week ending May 2. That’s a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week’s revised level.
The rate of unemployment claims per week has slowly descended since it reached its zenith in late March and early April, but the millions of new claims each week remains unprecedented: The highest weekly rate before COVID was less than a million. The advanced seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 15.5%.
Manufacturing Productivity Falls 3.3% in First Quarter
The Department of Labor says nonfarm business sector labor productivity fell 2.5% in the first quarter of 2020 as output fell 6.2% and hours worked dropped 3.8%. In manufacturing productivity fell 3.3% as hours worked and output both fell. Durable-goods manufacturing productivity fell 8.3%, with hours worked falling 3.9% and output falling 11.9%.
The data was adjusted to account for the large spike in unemployment insurance claims in late March and early April, which wasn’t part of the quarterly report’s usual data set. Read the full story here.
Designing Safer Solutions with Technology
Dassault Systèmes, a global software developer, is contributing a forum for design experts: the Open COVID-19 Community. The Community is an online workspace where people who design and manufacture innovative solutions for coronavirus-related problems can come together and collaborate on solutions. Other systems supporting the effort include Dassault’s sneeze simulator, which can be used to evaluate how well a given face mask design keeps potentially-infected droplets off a shielded person’s face. Read the full story here.