Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Small businesses were responsible for the entirety of the 27,000 net jobs that the private sector shed in March, according to a closely watched employment report by payroll provider ADP.

Why it matters: The extent of job losses is much worse than the ADP survey suggests, as it was conducted before states stepped up coronavirus containment efforts. But it shows that America's smallest businesses were hit hardest first, even as bigger corporations continued hiring.

By the numbers: Businesses with fewer than 50 employees shed 90,000 jobs in March, ADP found — making it the worst job loss for that group since April 2009, per Bloomberg. In February, those employers added 24,000 jobs.

  • The private sector's net job loss of only 27,000 was possible only because larger businesses were still adding workersalbeit at a slower pace than in prior monthsoffsetting some of the losses from smaller firms.
  • Companies with between 50–499 employees added 7,000 jobs.
  • Businesses with more than 500 but less than 1,000 workers added 1,000 jobs, while the largest businesses (with 1,000+ employees) added 55,000 jobs.

What to watch: The coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress allocates $350 billion in relief for small businesses, which can apply for loans starting on Friday.

  • The loans are meant to incentivize businesses to rehire workers.
  • Cash that's used to rehire and pay workers, among other things, doesn't need to be repaid.

Yes, but: The program, which works on a first-come, first-served basis, likely won't be large enough to satisfy the needs of all of America's small businesses.

  • If that's the case, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will go back to Congress and ask for more funding, he told CNBC Wednesday.

The bottom line: "Payrolls of small businesses are most vulnerable to the drop-off in activity seen as a result of the outbreak," Rhea Thomas, an economist at Wilmington Trust, wrote in a note on Wednesday.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

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Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China