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🎙“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” - See who said it and why it matters at the bottom.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits jumped to its highest in two years, rising by 70,000 for the week ending March 14, and far outpacing expectations, the Labor Department said Thursday.
By the numbers: Goldman Sachs predicts that more than 2 million Americans will file for unemployment claims by next week, pointing to "an unprecedented surge in layoffs this week."
The big picture: Thursday's jobless claims report is likely "only the tip of the iceberg: These numbers do not account for the surge of new claims from overwhelmed [unemployment] websites from coast to coast," Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at the Century Foundation and an expert on unemployment, told CBSNews.
One level deeper: Based on anecdotes from a wide range of business contacts, Goldman's economic research team foresees "an unprecedented decline in revenues across many industries."
Another perspective: Analysts at Bank of America Global Research expect a slower jobs drip, with the U.S. economy losing 1 million jobs a month.
If Goldman's economic forecasters are right, the number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits next week will more than triple the all-time high of 695,000 set in October 1982, and nearly four times the number seen at the peak of the Great Recession.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposal for a "Phase 3" stimulus bill in response to the COVID-19 outbreak includes cash payments to many Americans and billions for businesses. (Axios)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order for all residents to "stay at home." (Order)
After unveiling an $820 billion bond-buying package Wednesday, ECB president Christine Lagarde said the central bank was "fully prepared to increase the size of our asset-purchase programs and adjust their composition, by as much as necessary and for as long as needed.” (FT)
Having already bought more than half of the $500 billion in Treasuries it committed to on Sunday, the Fed looks poised for a much more aggressive round of purchases. (WSJ)
Almost half of China’s public consumer companies don’t have enough cash to survive for six months. (Bloomberg)
More than half of U.S. small business owners say their business will not be able to continue operating more than three months due to economic strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Goldman Sachs survey of more than 1,500 small business owners conducted March 16-17.
Why it matters: Much of the conversation around the economic effects of the outbreak has centered on the stock market and bailouts for large corporations, but its most acute impacts are being felt on Main Streets around the country.
Despite being the world's largest economy and having a private health care system that politicians routinely call "the best in the world," the U.S. lags badly among industrialized countries in terms of the number of doctors.
The big picture: The number of doctors will be key in fighting the health crisis that must be quelled before the American economy can get back on its feet. As will the number of hospital beds — another area where the U.S. comes up short.
What they're saying: "Every corner of the U.S. is at risk for a severe shortage of hospital beds as the coronavirus outbreak worsens, according to new simulations from Harvard, mapped out by ProPublica and the New York Times," Axios' Bob Herman writes.
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Axios' Courtenay Brown writes: Jack Dorsey's Square, the upstart payment processor for smaller merchants, got the OK to open a bank, after nearly three years of trying.
Why it matters: Square applied to set up an industrial loan company — a "lite" bank that isn't subject to Federal Reserve supervision — which hasn't been approved in more than a decade. It may open the floodgates for companies that want all the perks of being a bank without the same amount of oversight.
Driving the news: Square Financial Services, as the fintech's bank is to be called, will be based in Utah, and — when it opens in 2021 — will collect deposits and lend money to merchants that use Square devices.
The conditions placed on Square — by the FDIC and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions — are way tougher than those of typical banks. But they are still answering to fewer regulators.
Of note: The FDIC signed off on educational company Nelnet's request to launch a bank.
What they're saying: "Nonbanks have always wanted deposit insurance," Thomas Vartanian, a longtime banking lawyer who heads a financial regulatory institute at George Mason University’s law school, tells Axios.
The bottom line: Applications like Square's caused an uproar in the banking industry more than a decade ago. Remember when Walmart tried to be a bank? Traditional banking institutions howled about the potential consolidation of power in a single company.
Quote: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
Why it matters: We could all use a bit of the bright side in our lives. Fred McFeely Rogers, who kept audiences entertained for 33 years as the creator and host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," was born on March 20, 1928.