The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments on Thursday related to the global economy, the work place and the spread of the virus.
ZOOM: At the end of last year, the video-conferencing company Zoom had about 10 million daily users. By March, that number was 200 million. This week, CEO Eric Yuan is addressing some of the security concerns that have arisen as tens of millions of uses fled offices and logged in to Zoom chats.
“For the past several weeks, supporting this influx of users has been a tremendous undertaking and our sole focus,” Yuan wrote in a blog post. “However, we recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s — and our own — privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry.”
The company is enacting a 90-day freeze on new features so that it can deal with concerns about privacy on the platform. It’s also bringing in third-party expertise to assess how it’s handling user security.
Among the issues disrupting users is “zoombombing,” when people who are not part of a group break into a Zoom meeting to post images or memes.
SEEKING SHELTER: Businesses are being devastated by the outbreak, especially those that were already struggling. The number seeking bankruptcy protection is growing.
Dean & Deluca, a delicatessen founded in the 1970s in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, has become the latest, filing for Chapter 11 protection bankruptcy in a U.S. court.
The chain, which was acquired by Pace Development in Bangkok about six years ago, had been closing stores in recent months as it tried to revitalize the brand.
ARMY OF UNEMPLOYED: Estimates for the first waves of job losses in the U.S. related to the outbreak have been all over the map. The actual number blew all of those estimates away Thursday. The Department of Labor reported more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, far exceeding a record high set just last week.
Nearly 900,000 workers have lost their jobs in Spain since being ordered to stay home, authorities said Thursday. The short-term job loss was higher than in January 2009, when 350,000 workers lost their jobs during the global financial crisis.
The European Commission has designed a new program to raise up to 100 billion euros in loans to tackle the unemployment induced by the virus outbreak and weather the impact of the economic crisis looming.
TRAVEL: Gone unnoticed my many who are shut in their homes, the skies have become strangely devoid of planes. The travel industry appeared to come to a standstill, but the number of those taking flights is actually falling to new lows this week.
The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 146,348 people on Tuesday, nearly 8,000 fewer than Monday and down 93% from one year ago.
Korean Air pleaded for swift government intervention Thursday.
The airline, South Korea’s largest, recently sent all of its 387 foreign pilots on unpaid leave for three months and says it could possibly ask its entire workforce of 20,000 to take temporary leaves if conditions deteriorate further.
The pandemic is expected to wipe out $23 billion in passenger revenue from airlines across the Middle East and Africa this year, according to an assessment Thursday by the aviation industry’s largest trade association.
The International Air Transport Association said Mideast airlines will see a $19 billion drop in revenue compared with last year.
OFF THE RAILS: With auto plants shut down, shipments from the auto industry by rail tumbled 70% last week to 5,423 carloads, according to the Association of American Railroads. Total container shipments slid 14% as trade with China plummets.
On Thursday, the U.S reported that the trade deficit tumbled in February to the lowest level since 2016 as exports fell and imports fell more. The politically sensitive gap in the trade of goods with China narrowed in February when the world’s No. 2 economy was locked down to combat the coronavirus outbreak..
Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and CSX have all warned that the pandemic could have a material impact on earnings.
RAILWAY RIGATONI: Whether or not pasta is considered critical, a steady supply is being ensured by German supermarket chain Aldi through the use of special trains.
The company said Thursday that shipments by rail have so far brought more than 200 metric tons of fusilli, penne and spaghetti across the Alps to satisfy surging demand in Germany.
Aldi worked with logistics company DB Schenker to haul the pasta by truck from Naples to northern Italy, where the goods were then loaded onto trains to Nuremberg.
MARKETS: The staggering U.S. job report sent stocks seesawing on Wall Street.
The S&P 500 rose slightly, while the Dow and Nasdaq were essentially flat.