Good morning! Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here. (Today's Smart Brevity count: 967 words, <4 minutes.)
🎙 “I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry.” - See who said it and why it matters at the bottom.
A report from the Census Bureau finds that three out of four U.S. small businesses have sought financial assistance through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, but data show that just a fraction of those have received funding.
What it means: There are more than 30 million small businesses in the country but just under 6 million have gotten the loans. That means it's likely many in need of funding haven't been able to get it or have chosen not to pursue it.
Why it matters: The PPP was designed to keep employers tied to their workers ensuring that more Americans could easily get their jobs back once the coronavirus outbreak was tamed and the economy could restart.
What happened: "Backlash against publicly traded firms that dipped into the funds, and heightened federal scrutiny have likely chased away some firms," TD Securities macro strategist Oscar Muñoz writes in a note to clients.
Between the lines: Small business owners and various trade organizations also complained that the PPP's 60-day time constraint, delayed rollout, and the way it countered newly increased unemployment benefits meant many business owners simply didn't want it and others were unable to apply.
The last word: The real success or failure of PPP won't be known until we reach the eight week mark from when the loans were given out, Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, tells Axios.
Georgia’s decision to allow businesses to reopen almost three weeks ago has so far not resulted in a surge of hospitalizations or death and may encourage other states to ease restrictions. (Bloomberg)
Chinese industrial output rebounded in April, but unemployment worsened and retail sales declined more than expected. (WSJ)
Top executives at J.C. Penney got big bonuses ahead of mass layoffs and an expected bankruptcy filling this week, the company reported. (The Hill)
The NYSE will reopen its trading floor the day after Memorial Day, its president says. (WSJ)
The Fed released its report detailing COVID-19's impacts on U.S. households. (Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households)
Axios' Ben Geman writes: The brutal downturn in oil markets is likely to create a substantial drag on the wider economy as energy companies slash spending, Dallas Fed economists say in a new analysis.
Why it matters: It shows how the U.S. production boom over the last decade-plus has raised the economic stakes when the industry thrives — or takes a gigantic hit.
Driving the news: Oil-and-gas companies of all sizes are cutting investment as they grapple with the unprecedented pandemic-fueled collapse in demand and prices.
The big picture: "The decline in oil and gas capital expenditures will be a major drag on U.S. business fixed investment in second quarter 2020," the report states, noting this investment is an important part of GDP.
The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is at its highest level — 22.8 million — in American history.
The big picture: 36 million Americans have filed jobless claims in the past two months, including 3 million last week, the lowest tally of that span, Axios' Courtenay Brown reports.
The better news: For those who've managed to get applications approved, the extra $600 a week should help avert household financial catastrophe.
The bad news: The extra cash won't last forever, and timelines for economic recovery are becoming less optimistic.
The worst news: Most of the layoffs so far have been considered temporary, but that could change if their employers close for good in the months to come.
Between the lines: The pace of new applications has slowed from its peak in March, but are still more than four times the pre-pandemic record for claims filed in a single week — 695,000 in 1982.
The bottom line: Measuring the backlog is "like trying to measure the ocean, it's constantly moving," New York Labor Department commissioner Roberta Reardon said.
Thanks for reading!
Quote: "I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry."
Why it matters: Yusuf, previously known by the stage name Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. He converted to Islam in December 1977.