Mar 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Businesses mobilize to support employees during coronavirus outbreak

Harry Westhoff, 71, runs groceries back to his car in Teaneck, N.J., after Stop & Shop opened special morning hours for people 60-plus. Photo/John Minchillo/AP

Getting behind an idea from Andrew Ross Sorkin that excited CEOs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Congress to pass a "bridge loan" program to give federally guaranteed loans to companies with big losses from the pandemic.

How it works: The loans would include incentives for employers to maintain existing current workers at their existing pay.

  • Neil Bradley, the Chamber's executive vice president and chief policy officer, told me that the Chamber's full proposal was inspired by ideas by Sorkin, Kevin Warsh and Senate Small Business Committee Chairman Marco Rubio.

The state of play:

  • PepsiCo announced it'll provide enhanced benefits to all U.S.-based employees (including 100% pay during a 14-day quarantine) and additional compensation to U.S. frontline employees "who make, move and sell products."
  • Amazon announced it will hire 10,000 delivery and warehouse workers. The company also plans to raise pay by $2 an hour for delivery and warehouse employees through April, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Walmart said it plans to hire 150,000 U.S. hourly workers through the end of May, and many of the jobs will become permanent.
  • Target said it'll give a $2-an-hour wage increase to its 300,000-plus workers.
  • 7-Eleven will add 20,000 jobs.

Go deeper: Airport workers face layoffs across the U.S. as coronavirus spreads

Go deeper

Architect of Trump's coronavirus stimulus plan says it's too little, too late

Former Council of Economic Advisers chair Jason Furman, December 2017. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Trump administration's proposal to send Americans $1,000 checks is now too little, too late, the plan's architect tells Axios.

What happened: Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took two weeks to publicly support the proposal put forth in a March 5 Wall Street Journal editorial by Jason Furman, who served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama.

Workers press companies for protective measures

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Companies are scrambling to reorganize operations and add protections for employees after a surge of public protests by workers who are fearful of contracting the coronavirus on the job.

Why it matters: America is relying on grocery clerks, warehouse personnel and factory workers for food and other necessities. If they get sick, supply chains could break down, further threatening the teetering U.S. economy.

Go deeperArrowApr 4, 2020 - Health

Clyburn says House coronavirus committee won't investigate Trump

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the coronavirus committee created by Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will oversee how the $2 trillion stimulus bill is distributed during the pandemic, not the federal government's initial response to the virus.

What he's saying: "This is not about the president of the United States or even the independent counsel or the inspector general. This is about focusing on how the money is spent, whether or not the people who are getting the money are actually working on behalf of the American people, or whether or not they are profiteering."