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Daily COVID-19 Updates: April 2

April 2, 2020
Boeing, GE Aviation Cut Workforces; 6.6 Million File for Unemployment Benefits; Are Ventilator Promises Hot Air?

The coronavirus is causing more laid-off workers to file for unemployment benefits now than at any other time recorded by the Department of Labor. For the second week in a row, the rise in claims was described as “unprecedented.” States commenting on the loss cited specific industries gravely impacted: the service industries were a common response, but so were manufacturing, transportation, construction and retail.

The 2020 CARES stimulus Act, passed last week, offers some hope for the situation. It provided billions of dollars in stimulus for large companies and dramatically expanded unemployment benefits for the millions currently applying for them.

But even with that law’s $2.2 trillion price tag, it’s unlikely to be the last government stimulus passed to mitigate the effects of the virus.

Boeing, GE Aviation Announce Layoffs and Buyouts

GE Aviation and Boeing both announced measures today to cut their workforce spending as stay-at-home orders necessitate suspending production and air travel demand plummets.

GE Aviation, in addition to a 10% workforce cut earlier this month, announced it would furlough 50% of its workers responsible for making aircraft engines for four weeks. Boeing said it would offer buyouts to its employees, and CEO Calhoun warned that the industry’s recovery could take “years.” Read the full story here.

Department of Labor Announces 6.6 Million Filed Unemployment Last Week

More than ten million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in March. 3.3 million submitted claims in the week ending in March 21, and twice that number, 6.6 million, applied for unemployed benefits the week after.

States responding to the Department of Labor report on unemployment cited the coronavirus as being the chief cause for layoffs across the country. Manufacturing, like most sectors, saw significant layoffs, as did the transportation and service industries. Read the full story here.

How Realistic Are Manufacturers’ Ventilator Ambitions?

The ventilator, a device used in intensive care units for patients experiencing severe respiratory problems, is now infamously in short supply. According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York has only a six-day supply of the life-support machines left. Answering the call, General Motors, Ford, and Toyota have all made strides to produce or speed production of ventilators in partnerships and other arrangements.

But according to Paul Ericksen, IndustryWeek’s supply chain advisor, hopes that the vehicle manufacturers’ efforts will be able to quickly turn the ventilator situation around may be naïve. “The capacity of … suppliers is likely targeted to support normal demand, plus-or-minus, not the amount needed to combat a pandemic,” Ericksen warns. “And developing additional capacity always takes time.” Read the full story here.

Coronavirus Regulations: Are You in Compliance?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed March 18 into law, mandates small companies to provide paid leave and sick time to employees who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, either personally or through a family member.

The deadline for coming into compliance with the FFCRA was April 1. Jim Hermon and Dan Stern, employment attorneys, explain precisely what the new legislation expects of small business owners. Read the full story here.

Ford Sales Also Impacted by Virus

In other COVID-19 news, Ford’s sales figures dropped 12% this financial quarter. It joins Detroit-area rivals General Motors and Fiat-Chrysler for dismal sales figures: Yesterday, GM reported a 10% drop in sales for the quarter and FCA, 7%. 

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