Topline: As the coronavirus pandemic wipes out markets, closes schools and colleges, suspends major conferences, sports leagues and cultural events as well as upends the travel industry, businesses losing out on cash flow have started laying off workers.
Here’s who’s axed staff so far:
- Norwegian Air said Thursday that it would temporarily lay off up to 50% of its workforce (and suspend 4,000 flights) due to the pandemic.
- 50 employees of music and culture festival South By Southwest were let go after this year’s event was canceled, the Washington Post reported.
- The Port of Los Angeles let go of 145 drivers after ships from China stopped arriving.
- Christie Lights, an Orlando, Florida, based stage lighting company, laid off 100 employees.
- HMSHost, a Seattle, Washington, global restaurant-services provider said it would lay off 200 people and an area corporate shuttle service would lay off 75, HuffPost reported, while an area hotel chain eliminated an entire department, according to the Post.
- Travel agencies in Los Angeles, California, along with Atlanta, Georgia, had to let employees go as the pandemic battered their industry.
- Aid workers in Las Vegas are reportedly seeing a surge in requests for food assistance and other help as events and trade shows get canceled.
What to watch for: If any U.S. airlines end up laying off workers. Delta Airlines said Tuesday it was cutting flights and freezing hiring. American Airlines is also cutting flights, and delaying trainings for new flight attendants and pilots. Reuters reported Thursday that jobless claims are down for the week, but coronavirus-related layoffs are likely on the horizon.
Big number: 2,352 points. That’s how far the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted Thursday, which is a 10% drop. The S&P 500 fell 9.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite sank 9.4%.
Key background: There are now more than 1,300 reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. and at least 38 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide cases now amount to almost 128,000 infected and more than 4,700 dead. Meanwhile, Congress is in conflicted talks over a coronavirus relief bill that may not pass this week, while New York and other state governments begin to implement bans on large gatherings to stem the spread of disease. Cancelations of concerts, sports leagues, festivals, religious gatherings and other large events have impacted millions of people. At least 135 colleges have so far canceled in-person classes. On Wednesday night, President Trump announced a 30 day travel ban from Europe (excluding the U.K. and Ireland) that sent airlines and travelers scrambling to adjust.
I’m a New York-based journalist covering breaking news at Forbes. I hold a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Previous bylines: Gotham Gazette, Bklyner, Thrillist, Task & Purpose and xoJane.
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