Reproduced from PwC CFO Pulse Survey; Chart: Axios Visuals

Having initially predicted they could get through the coronavirus pandemic with their businesses largely unscathed and workforces intact, U.S. corporate leaders are now starting to change their tune.

What it means: Top financial officers have consistently written down their expectations for the economy, their company's financial situation, and how many of their employees they will be able to keep on staff in recent weeks.

  • And the trend of worsening expectations is likely to continue.

Driving the news: The third release of PwC’s survey of American CFOs shows 26% anticipate layoffs at their companies, a marked increase from two weeks ago when the survey found only 16% expected layoffs.

  • More CFOs also expect that even if the virus were contained today, it would take longer for their businesses to recover.

By the numbers: A vast majority (81%) of those surveyed expect COVID-19 to decrease their company’s revenue and/or profits this year, up from 58% in PwC's first survey on March 11.

  • PwC also found 82% of CFOs are now focused on reducing costs, compared to 62% on March 11 (most company's No. 1 cost is employees).
  • Two-thirds (67%) of survey respondents now say they are considering deferring or canceling planned investments — more than double the 32% who said so in the first survey.
  • On March 11, 14% of respondents said they were "not considering any financial actions as a result of COVID-19," but that number dropped to 4% in the latest survey.

What they're saying: Having talked to corporate leaders during three separate periods over the past month, Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner at PwC, says, "It is becoming clearer and clearer ... that it’s reasonable to assume that trend will continue."

  • "There's a growing realization that most have, whether it be at the policy-making or business level, which is that controlling the virus is simply going to take longer than we thought," Ryan tells Axios during a media call Monday.
  • "The ripple effect on the supply chain is becoming better understood and it’s causing companies to realize it’ll take a lot longer to bounce back than they had otherwise anticipated."

The big picture: That's bad news for employees, many of whom have been told by corporate leadership that their jobs were secure during the crisis.

  • "The survey is one indicator that the unemployment situation could become more challenging," Ryan says. "Not just in the retail sector, but more broadly."

A separate survey from CFO Magazine conducted March 26–April 2 among 333 CFOs found that more than one-third (35%) are laying off or furloughing employees, even though a majority said they expect a V-shaped recovery. Most said they didn’t know how many employees would be affected.

  • Nearly half (49%) of the executives surveyed indicated that their organization was "scaling back" or delaying investments.

What's next: A clear division of companies is beginning to take shape, separating winners and losers. Many companies that loaded up on cash during 2019 anticipating a recession are in a better position to weather the storm.

  • However, the surveys show companies that are not large, did not have a mountain of cash coming into the year, and are not providing essential services, are already scrambling to stay afloat.

Go deeper: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

France reported more than 2,500 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours — the largest single-day number since May. French officials said the situation was "clearly worsening," per France 24.

By the numbers: Over 745,600 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and over 20.4 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. Almost 12.7 million have recovered from the virus.

Biden campaign raises $26 million in 24 hours after announcing Harris as running mate

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign announced on Wednesday that it raised $26 million in the 24 hours after revealing Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential pick.

Why it matters: The cash influx signals that Harris has helped the Democratic presidential campaign pick up steam. Nearly 150,000 contributors were first-time donors, according to the campaign statement.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 20,456,016 — Total deaths: 745,600— Total recoveries: 12,663,206Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,190,948 — Total deaths: 165,883 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says Mnuchin told her White House is "not budging" on stimulus position.
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America's two-sided COVID-19 response America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: New Jersey governor allows schools to reopenGallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.