Tesla has told employees it intended to restart its factory in Fremont, Calif., on Friday. But the electric car company’s plans do not comply with a local government order that has not yet cleared large manufacturers to resume operations.
The company informed employees of the plan in company emails that were reviewed by The New York Times. The emails were sent after Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said manufacturing companies could resume operations even as other businesses were to stay closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The governor also said that local governments could impose tougher restrictions than those that apply statewide.
A coalition of health officials from six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area and the City of Berkeley have chosen to maintain to stricter limits in their most recent order, issued on May 4.
That order allowed construction, landscaping, agricultural and other outdoor businesses to resume operations, but restaurants, bars or other indoor businesses “that do not permit physical distancing or have high-touch equipment” must remain closed.
“Tesla has been informed that they do not meet these criteria and must not reopen,” Neetu Balram, a spokeswoman for Alameda County, said in a statement.
Tesla representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
April’s job losses highlight the depth of the pandemic’s devastation.
The report underscores the speed and depth of the labor market’s collapse as the coronavirus pandemic took a devastating toll. In February, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, a half-century low.
The April job losses alone far exceed the 8.7 million in the last recession, when unemployment peaked at 10 percent in October 2009. The only comparable period came when the rate reached about 25 percent in 1933, before the government began publishing official statistics.
If anything, the report understates the damage. The government’s definition of unemployment typically requires people to be actively looking for work. And the unemployment rate does not reflect the millions still working who have had their hours slashed or their pay cut.
The coronavirus shutdowns have upended many daily routines, including those around beauty, skin care and hair care.
Some people are taking matters into their own hands, sending sales of do-it-yourself hair color kits, hair trimmers and nail polish soaring at retailers like Walmart and Hy-Vee, a Midwest grocery store chain, in recent weeks.
But other people have simply stopped morning makeup regimens. For beauty companies and retailers, the combination of store closures and consumers who see little need to put on blush or mascara when they’re stuck at home is a serious issue.
In late March, E.L.F. Beauty said it saw a “significant decline” in retail sales in the last two weeks of that month. The company’s stock is down 40 percent since mid-February. Sales at Estée Lauder Companies dropped 11 percent in its fiscal third quarter, which ended March 31. Its stock is down 20 percent since mid-February.
Sales of higher-end beauty products through department stores and retailers like Ulta Beauty and Sephora dropped about 14 percent in the first quarter, said Larissa Jensen, a vice president at the NPD Group, a research firm.
But sales of skin-care products had been on the uptick for the last three years, Ms. Jensen said. And in recent weeks, sales of skin-care products surpassed makeup sales for the first time ever, she said.
Apple said on Friday that it would reopen stores in four states next week, instituting temperature checks for customers and employees and limiting the number of people inside each store at any given time.
The company will also provide face coverings for customers who want them.
In March, Apple had closed more than 450 of its stores, or nearly every location outside of China, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. In recent weeks, it has begun to slowly reopen some stores, including in Australia, Austria and South Korea.
Next week, the company will add stores in Alabama, Alaska, Idaho and South Carolina to that list, starting with its store in Boise on Monday. It has six stores in those states, but an Apple spokesman said not all would open next week.
The European Union said on Friday that governments in the bloc would have to restrict dividends, share buybacks and bonus payments at companies that receive economic relief in the form of a stake sale or certain kinds of debt.
“As the crisis evolves, many businesses will also need capital to stay afloat,” the E.U.’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said in a statement. “If member states decide to step in, we will apply today’s rules to ensure that taxpayers are sufficiently remunerated and their support comes with strings attached.”
A government should only buy a stake in a business if there is no other option, the E.U. said, and any “aid must be limited to enabling the viability of the company.”
The plan to allow stake sales came hours after Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank, said the European Union should deploy more financial firepower to help the worst-hit members.
“If not all countries are cured from this crisis, the others will suffer — and not just in terms of health, but economically too,” Ms. Lagarde said at an event organized by the European University Institute.
Countries may need to issue as much as 1.5 trillion euros, or $1.6 trillion, in new debt to pay for corporate loan guarantees, unemployment subsidy programs and other measures to keep their economies afloat, Ms. Lagarde said. That is three times as much as European Union leaders have jointly committed so far.
Apartment rent collections are surprisingly strong so far this month, with an industry survey showing that a vast majority of tenants have made payments.
Through the first six days of May, 80.2 percent of tenants paid at least some of their rent, compared with 81.2 percent a year earlier, according to a survey of 11.4 million apartments by the National Multifamily Housing Council, a trade group for large apartment owners. That was better than the first week of April, when 78 percent of tenants paid some or all of their rent. By the end of the month, the figure had risen to almost 95 percent.
A similar story has played out in state surveys and corporate earnings reports, with publicly traded apartment companies reporting strong rent collections in April and May.
Government stimulus checks and expanded unemployment benefits appear to have helped backstop consumer finances. Still, there are concerns about the trade-offs that low-income renters must make to pay their rent, and how long they can continue to do so with millions of new unemployment claims filed each week.
Two Democrats, Representative Denny Heck of Washington and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, introduced bills on Friday providing $100 billion to cover about six months of housing costs for tenants. “This bill will help tenants pay their rent, without placing the burden on landlords,” Mr. Heck said in a statement.
The handling of the Paycheck Protection Program was faulty, inspector.
The Small Business Administration’s inspector general said on Friday that flaws in how the agency put the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program into place were likely to have left rural, minority and women-owned businesses unable to get loans and could leave thousands of borrowers saddled with debt.
The report represents the first formal review of the embattled Paycheck Protection Program, which is the centerpiece of the government’s economic relief effort. The program, created as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, has funneled billions of dollars to firms struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, but has been criticized for favoring bigger businesses and for complex requirements that are out of step with economic realities.
According to the inspector general’s report, the S.B.A. did not issue guidance to ensure that lenders would prioritize underserved communities, as required by law.
The report also highlights another concern that has gripped borrowers: the S.B.A.’s rule that 75 percent of loan proceeds be used to cover payroll costs and 25 percent go overhead costs such as rent.
Because so many businesses will remain shuttered after the eight-week loan period, and because many workers have opted to take more generous unemployment insurance benefits, businesses are fearful that they will be unable to spend enough of the loan money on payroll. In that event, parts of the loans would not be forgiven, saddling the borrowers with debt.
Nearly two weeks after the Paycheck Protection Program began making its second round of loans, nearly 40 percent of the funds remain unclaimed — surprising lenders who thought the money would vanish fast.
Just over $185 billion of the program’s $310 billion had been allocated as of Thursday evening, the Small Business Administration said in its latest report. Intended to help small companies keep their workers employed, the program offers a forgivable loan to cover eight weeks of payroll and certain other operating expenses, like rent.
But growing concern among business owners over the program’s complex and still-changing rules has damped demand. Some who took the cash are sitting on it. Those who do not spend the money on payroll will not have the loan forgiven, saddling them with a large debt during an economic collapse. For many owners, though, hiring back workers in the face of so much uncertainty does not make sense.
Carrie Morey owns Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, a small group of restaurants in Atlanta, Charleston and Charlotte, N.C. She got a loan in the paycheck program’s second round, but is hoping for rule changes to make it more flexible. She would like to have a much longer period to bring back workers and still have her loan forgiven.
“Even if tomorrow everything were fine and we were to go back to business as usual, it’s going to take months for us to get customers to come in the door,” Ms. Morey said Thursday at a virtual gathering of business owners.
The S&P 500 climbed more than 1 percent. European markets were higher after a broadly positive day in Asia.
Investors were cheered by the prospects of countries further reopening their economies, despite worries that those efforts could lead to a rise in infections. They were also bolstered by announcements from the United States and China that appeared to back their Phase 1 trade deal, which would bring their two-year trade war to a temporary truce. The White House had openly questioned China’s commitment to the deal in recent days, hurting stocks.
The optimism was widespread. Prices for U.S. Treasury bonds, which generally rise in troubled times, were lower. Oil prices also rose.
But more grim economic data was released on Friday. The report on April payrolls in the United States is showed a loss of more than 20.5 million jobs — a breathtaking drop — and a sharp jump in the unemployment rate. Corporate earnings reports, too, are reflecting the heavy toll of the pandemic. Siemens, the European industrial giant, said profit fell 64 percent in the first quarter.
The stock market has shown a remarkable indifference to the dire outlook for the economy since it began to rally on March 23. That was the day the Federal Reserve signaled that it stood ready to pump an unlimited amount of dollars into financial markets to keep key borrowing markets from malfunctioning.
Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.
Bed Bath & Beyond announced plans for a phased-in approach to reopen approximately 20 stores by May 22, but the majority of stores would remain closed until at least May 30. The company plans to promote store safety with hand sanitizer and wipes, occupancy limits, social distancing and curbside pickup. Bed Bath & Beyond also owns Buybuy Baby and Harmon Face Values, which sell essential goods and have remained open during the pandemic.
The German airline Lufthansa said Friday it would resume flights next month to popular European holiday destinations like the Mediterranean islands of Mallorca and Crete, and Sylt in the North Sea. Starting June 1, Lufthansa will double the number of aircraft in service, to 160.
The electronics and engineering giant Siemens, a bellwether for the German economy, reported that first-quarter profit fell by more than half as new orders slumped. Siemens said that sales had slipped a modest 1 percent compared with the first quarter of 2019. But new orders fell 9 percent largely because of lower demand for passenger trains. Profit fell 64 percent.
Reporting and research was contributed by Alan Rappeport, Conor Dougherty, Gregory Schmidt, Jack Nicas, Nelson D. Schwartz, Ben Casselman, Jeanna Smialek, Jack Ewing, Niraj Chokshi, Alan Rappeport, Sapna Maheshwari, Stacy Cowley, Neal E. Boudette, Michael Crowley, Ken Vogel, Keith Bradsher, Liu Yi, Mohammed Hadi, Brooks Barnes, Liz Alderman, Carlos Tejada, Daniel Victor and Kevin Granville.