Another 3.2 Million Added to Weekly Unemployment Roll

The U.S. Department of Labor May 7 said 3.2 million people filed unemployment claims for the week ended May 2. The filings come on top of more than 30 million claims filed over the previous six weeks.

The previous week’s level was revised upward by 7,000 from 3.83 million 3.84 million. The four-week moving average was 4.17 million, a decrease of 861,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,750 from 5.033 million to 5.035 million.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The agency also announced the award of six “Dislocated Worker Grants” (DWGs) totaling more than $10 million to help address the workforce-related impacts of the public health emergency related to the coronavirus. These awards are funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided $345 million for DWGs to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus.

Follow us HERE on Twitter

U.S. Economy Fell 4.8% in Q1 Due to Coronavirus

As expected, the U.S. economy took a major hit in the first quarter (ended March 31) due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Commerce Department.

New data said the gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by an estimated 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020 — the biggest decline since the Great Recession in the fourth quarter of 2008. By comparison, the GDP increased by 2.1% in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2019).

Industry experts had expected a 3.7% decline while pre-COVID-19 estimates called for a 2.1% increase. The second GDP estimate will be released on May 28.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The GDP drop was due to widespread shutdowns of all non-essential commerce in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 as state and local governments issued “shelter-in-place” mandates. The lockdowns flatlined most retail transactions with consumer spending canceled, restricted or redirected online.

“This is unprecedented in terms of what we typically see in a recession,” Robert Murphy, an economist at Boston College, told The Walt Street Journal. “When you go into a recession, it’s usually a gradual process, it doesn’t happen all at once.”

Follow us on Instagram

The Fed Going on Massive Debt Buying Spree

The Federal Reserve March 23 announced major steps it says would help citizens, businesses and the U.S. economy weather the coronavirus spread, which has caused shutdowns of myriad business, social and media events.

The move comes as a $1.8 trillion stimulus bill stalled in Congress due to politics.

“The coronavirus pandemic is causing tremendous hardship across the United States and around the world. While great uncertainty remains, it has become clear that our economy will face severe disruptions. Aggressive efforts must be taken across the public and private sectors to limit the losses to jobs and incomes and to promote a swift recovery once the disruptions abate,” the Fed said in a statement.

Follow us on Instagram

The Federal Reserve’s role is guided by its mandate from Congress to promote maximum employment and stable prices, along with its responsibilities to promote the stability of the financial system.

In support of these goals, the Fed said it would purchase government-backed Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities in any amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy. The Fed had previously announced it would purchase at least $500 billion of Treasury securities and at least $200 billion of mortgage-backed securities.

In addition, the Fed will include purchases of agency commercial mortgage-backed securities, or bonds, in its agency mortgage-backed security purchases.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The nation’s bank is also supporting the flow of credit to employers, consumers, and businesses by establishing new programs that, taken together, would provide up to $300 billion in new financing.

The latter would enable the issuance of asset-backed securities backed by student loans, auto loans, credit card loans, loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), and certain other assets.

In addition, the Federal Reserve expects to announce soon the establishment of a “Main Street Business Lending Program” to support lending to eligible small-and-medium sized businesses, complementing efforts by the SBA.

Amazon Launches ‘Storefronts’ Small Retailer Platform

Borrowing a page from its Amazon Channels third-party over-the-top video service platform, Amazon Sept. 17 announced the launch of Storefronts – a platform giving Prime members attention to more than 20,000 small and medium-sized retailers selling on Amazon.

While many of these businesses currently participate as Amazon third-party sellers, the Storefronts platform pledges to give them added exposure through national marketing and online videos.

Amazon first began using third-party sellers nearly two decades ago, and today, small and medium-sized businesses. To support the launch of the new store, Amazon is unveiling its first-ever national TV commercial featuring third-party businesses that sell on Amazon.

With more than a million small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. selling on Amazon, the ad gives consumers a glimpse into a real business on Amazon and how Amazon is actually a ‘big collection of small’ businesses. The spot shows how Amazon helps businesses get their products to customers all over the world.

“Since we started selling on Amazon in October 2016, our sales have nearly doubled,” said Holly Rutt, co-founder of Little Flower Soap Co., the Chelsea, Michigan business owner featured in the national TV ad.

“Due to our success, we have been able to hire new team members from our community, including full and part time jobs. We believe that customers like to know the story behind what they’re buying. When there is worry about creating jobs, it’s reassuring for customers to know their purchases are helping sustain jobs in the U.S.,” Rutt said.

Earlier this year, Amazon said small and medium-sized businesses selling on the ecommerce platform are estimated to have created more than 900,000 jobs worldwide. In 2017, more than 300,000 U.S.-based small and medium-sized businesses started selling on Amazon.