From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.
MARKETS KEEP GAINS: The markets closed out an uneven week of trading with mixed results Friday but still managed to make up for last week's losses. Now that all 50 states have begun reopening to some degree, investors see signs of hope for an economic recovery in the U.S. during the second half of the year. Plus promising reports on COVID-19 vaccine trials pushed stocks up much of the week. However, fears that reopening businesses too quickly could lead to a resurgence of coronavirus cases, rising unemployment, U.S. friction with China, and moves made by Beijing to limit political opposition in Hong Kong tempered some of that enthusiasm.
UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS: Jobless claims continue to climb. The Labor Department reported on Thursday that another 2.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits the previous week. Almost 39 million people have applied for benefits since the pandemic began closing businesses in March, with the unemployment rate now at 14.7 percent. Painful cuts continued this week with rideshare service Uber announcing it will lay off 3,000 employees on top of the 3,700 roles it had already cut. On Sunday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned in an interview that the unemployment rate could hit a peak of 20 to 25 percent in May or June.
AIRLINES CHART PATH FORWARD: U.S. airlines are reporting small but notable upticks in passengers ahead of Memorial Day Weekend. Delta says demand for beach destinations and activity “out west” grew and it's adding more flights to allow for social distancing on planes. Meanwhile, United unveiled new cleaning and safety protocols it hopes will put passengers’ minds at ease, including sneeze guards at check-in and touchless kiosks
FACEBOOK ALL-TIME HIGH: Shares of Facebook hit an all-time high, a day after the social media giant announced Facebook Shops, a new e-commerce platform meant to make it easier for users to sell on both Instagram and Facebook proper. Facebook’s stock has been on fire lately, helped by a strong balance sheet and access to a third of the world’s eyeballs.
WFH FOREVER?: More technology firms are telling their employees they can work from home indefinitely. Shopify, the Canadian e-commerce giant, and Facebook are the latest to jump on the bandwagon, following Twitter and Square. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicted as much as half of his workforce may eventually work remotely, away from crowded, expensive metropolises — but noted that salaries won't look the same for employees working in high-cost areas versus those in areas with lower costs of living.