Happy almost long weekend. Courtenay Brown here filling in for Dion, who's getting a much-deserved early start on his.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Investors are getting acquainted with a new class of CEOs, who are making crucial decisions about how to steer the companies that are in some cases taking the worst hit from the coronavirus crisis.
The problem: No one has experience dealing with an economy-shuttering global pandemic.
The backdrop: A record number of CEOs stepped down in prior months amid a thriving economy. Their successors are now taking the helm but under unprecedented circumstances.
Why it matters: These CEOs will be the face of tough decisions — including about layoffs — as their businesses are forced to change.
Yes, but: In certain cases, while some titles have changed, predecessors are lingering in the background.
The other side: Retirement plans are being put on ice. Their companies are halting the time-consuming searches for new leaders. But no amount of tenure could have prepared someone to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
What they're saying: "A company that a year ago was focused on growth and international expansion might now need to shift much more towards cost-cutting," Yo-Jud Cheng, a professor at the University of Virginia's business school, tells Axios.
Before the coronavirus hit, 1.7 million jobless workers were collecting unemployment benefits.
Why it matters: The number of new claims applications continues to be devastatingly high, though the pace has steadily slowed from the peak. Continued claims, which show the number of Americans on unemployment rolls after the initial application, keep climbing to new weekly records.
What they're saying: "We don't know how many people have fallen off unemployment because they got rehired," Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, tells Axios.
Axios' Stef Kight writes: Questions about the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic are beginning to overtake questions about the virus itself, according to a new analysis of Google search data from around the world.
Why it matters: Even with the global death toll rising, search data indicate that the coronavirus has become a fact of life for much of the world. Now, people have more questions about jobs, unemployment, furloughs and government aid.
How it works: Axios, Google Trends and research firm Schema analyzed more than 8,000 search terms in six countries — the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia, India and Singapore.
What we found: General knowledge searches, such as "what is the coronavirus." surged in each country in January and February as the virus began to spread. But over the past several weeks, those queries have slowed.
China won't set an annual GDP target for the first time in decades because of the "great uncertainty regarding the [C]ovid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said. (CNBC)
The Federal Reserve bought $1.8 billion worth of corporate debt ETFs total since the facility launched last week. (Bloomberg)
Sales of Hormel products — including Skippy peanut butter and Spam — to groceries skyrocketed, thanks to food stockpiling and the quarantine diet.
Why it matters: Some companies are seeing business (or parts of their business) collapse as Americans lock down. Others are getting a lift as people shelter in place.
The big picture: Bigger parts of its business are being slammed. Demand for its foodservice business, where it distributes products to restaurants, hotels and school cafeterias, has plummeted.
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend. Dion will be back in your inbox on Tuesday.