Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Fitch is expecting to cut the ratings on a record high number of companies this year as the pace of downgrades has "dramatically increased, owing to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic," analysts note in a recent report.

The state of play: After just 58 downgrades in the first 10 weeks of 2020, there have been an additional 347 corporate and financial institution issuers downgraded for a total of 405 through the end of April.

  • There were a total of 1,068 negative rating actions taken in corporate and financial institutions during that time.
  • And though downgrades accounted for less than 40% of the negative actions, the increased level of negative rating outlooks "signal more downgrades are likely during the remainder of 2020 and into 2021," per the report.

Why it matters: Lower credit ratings make it more expensive for companies to borrow money and can lead to bankruptcy and insolvency for some firms.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

U.S. cities' lagging climate progress

Expand chart
Reproduced from a Brookings Institution report; Chart: Axios Visuals

A just-published Brookings Institution analysis of U.S. cities' pledges to cut carbon emissions reveals very mixed results.

Why it matters: The potential — and limits — of city and state initiatives have gotten more attention amid President Trump's scuttling of Obama-era national policies.

New state unemployment filings fall to 787,000

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

First-time applications for unemployment fell last week, according to Department of Labor data released on Thursday.

Between the lines: The overall number of Americans relying on unemployment also fell to a still-staggering 23 million. But there are continued signs of labor market strain, with more people shifting to an unemployment program designed for the long-term jobless.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: Many U.S. deaths were avoidable — The pandemic is getting worse again.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

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