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Reproduced from S&P Global Market Intelligence; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. corporate bankruptcies have risen in 2020 — already reaching the highest number at this point in the year since 2010 — but the pace remains well behind what was seen during the Great Recession.

Why it matters: The increased pace of bankruptcies has grabbed headlines in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but is quaint compared to what took place from 2007–2009. In fact, there have been fewer bankruptcies so far in 2020 than in 2006 and in 2005, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

By the numbers: A total of 470 companies have gone bankrupt as of Sept. 7.

  • However, there were 608 bankruptcies through Sept. 7, 2010.
  • 1,108 bankruptcies by Sept. 7, 2006.
  • 610 bankruptcies by Sept. 7, 2005.

There were 2,747 bankruptcies through Sept. 7 and 4,095 by year-end in 2007; 3,247 through Sept. 7 and 5,268 by year-end in 2008; and 4,025 through Sept. 7 and 4,988 by year-end in 2009.

What to watch: The reduced number of bankruptcies is good for individual companies but is largely a result of the Fed flooding markets with liquidity and keeping U.S. interest rates at extremely low levels.

  • That is allowing inefficient companies to stay in business and weighing down overall U.S. productivity, many economists argue.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 28, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The global investment slump

Data: IEA; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

A few days ago the International Energy Agency updated its analysis of the pandemic-fueled decline in investment.

Driving the news: IEA now sees global industry investment on the upstream (exploration and production) side falling by 35% this year, a slightly steeper drop than their prior analysis in May.

Tracking the pandemic's unequal impact

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult/Axios; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic was bound to hit the most economically vulnerable among us the hardest. New polling data from Morning Consult, out this morning, shows the degree to which those difficulties were more concentrated among people of color.

Catch up quick: The Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index has tracked the economic experience of adults in three wage groups since May 2020. We began publishing the findings in May of this year, and six months in, we’re slicing the data a little differently — and looking at inequality between ethnicities.

2 hours ago - Health

WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking in Geneva in October. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Monday in a new risk assessment that it believes the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk to the globe because it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.

Why it matters: Though the WHO acknowledged there are still many uncertainties associated with the variant, the agency said it believes the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron around the world is "high."