How the coronavirus job cuts played out by sector and demographics

(Reuters) – The job losses suffered in March as the U.S. economy shut down in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic were widespread but still were disproportionately felt in a handful of employment sectors and by women, the young and the less educated.

In all, 701,000 jobs were reported lost last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, but even that massive number – the largest since the financial crisis 11 years ago – did not capture the true depth of the losses because the monthly survey was conducted too early in March.

Still, it shows that even in the earliest stages of the business closures that have since spread across the country, the cuts were most heavily felt in industries such as hotels, restaurants and education as the travel industry shut down, bars and eateries closed their doors, and day care centers shuttered, all in the aim of limiting the spread of the disease.

And, perhaps ironically in the middle of a health crisis, the health care sector was among the most afflicted as providers of nearly any service apart from acute care for sufferers of COVID-19, the lung ailment caused by the novel coronavirus, suspended operations and stopped seeing patients.

The following charts offer a picture of how March’s job losses – certain to be revised higher and followed by even larger cuts in April – played out across various industries and demographic groups.

Graphic: Which sectors lost jobs in March? – reut.rs/2wP4ynv

The leisure and hospitality sector shed 459,000 jobs – 65% of all the positions lost in March. The loss, the largest monthly decline in the sector ever, effectively wiped out two years of employment gains in the industry.

The largest share of that came at restaurants and bars, which slashed 417,000 jobs.

Around 76,000 health and education jobs were eliminated led by 29,000 cuts at dentists and physicians offices and another 19,000 at day care centers.

The federal government sector stood out as a rare example of net job gains last month, thanks to the addition of 17,000 temporary workers for the 2020 census.

Graphic: Unemployment across age and race – reut.rs/346fk4K

The unemployment rate shot up to 4.4% from a half-century low of 3.5%, the largest one-month increase in the jobless rate since 1975.

By race or ethnicity, the largest increases were seen among Asians and Latinos, with increases of 1.6 percentage points each, nearly twice the overall increase of 0.9 percentage point. Both whites and African Americans saw their rates rise at the same pace as the national rate, although the unemployment rate now for blacks – at 6.7% – is 65% higher than for whites at 4%.

The youngest workers were also the most likely to lose work in the early stages of the shutdown.

The unemployment rate for teenagers rose by 3.3 percentage points to 14.3% and for those between 20 and 24 years old by 2.3 points – the most since 1953 – to 8.7%.

By contrast, unemployment for those in the 25-to-34-year-old age bracket rose by just 0.4 percentage point to 4.1%. The jobless rate for workers aged 45 to 54 rose 0.7 percentage point to 3.2%, the lowest rate for any age group.

Graphic: Unemployment across gender and education – reut.rs/3aGQlr7

Workers with lower levels of education also found themselves thrown out of work at a higher rate in March.

The rate for workers without a high school diploma jumped by 1.1 percentage points to 6.8%, the highest in nearly three years.

For people with a college degree, meanwhile, the jobless rate rose by 0.6 percentage point to 2.5%. Still, it was the largest monthly increase in the rate for that demographic since the Labor Department began tracking it in the early 1990s.

And finally, there was a notable gender gap in the unemployment rate increase last month. The jobless rate for men rose by 0.7 percentage point, while the rate for women rose 0.9 percentage point, perhaps explained by their greater representation in the hardest-hit employment sectors such as hospitality and health care.

The overall rate for both sexes over the age of 20 now stands at 4%.

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Oil jump lifts Wall Street as jobless claims data surges

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday as hopes for a truce in the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and a cut in oil output drove gains, taking some sting out of a shocking jump in Americans filing jobless claims due to coronavirus-led lockdowns.

The S&P energy index .SPNY, down by more than 50% this year due to the Russia-Saudi price war and coronavirus-driven demand worries that has caused oil prices to plunge, climbed 9.08%.

Saudi Arabia has called for an emergency meeting of oil producers, while U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected the kingdom and Russia to cut output by as much as 10 million to 15 million barrels a day. That helped U.S. crude CLc1 futures settle up 24.7%, and Brent up 21.5%, their biggest daily percentage gains on record.

Still, major averages waded into negative territory multiple times before a late rally pushed stocks higher to close near session highs.

“It got beaten up so badly, you don’t rally like this unless it was many people thinking this got overdone,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 469.93 points, or 2.24%, to 21,413.44, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 56.4 points, or 2.28%, to 2,526.9 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 126.73 points, or 1.72%, to 7,487.31.

The list of top gainers on the benchmark S&P 500 was littered with oil companies. Occidental Petroleum (OXY.N) surged 18.90%, with names such as Apache Corp (APA.N) and Halliburton (HAL.N) also seeing double-digit percentage gains.

A bump in prices may still not be enough to save some of the debt-laden U.S. shale companies that are on the brink of bankruptcy as demand continues to plunge due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysts foresee a further decline in U.S. stocks as country-wide shutdowns to limit the spread of the virus result in a virtual halt in business activity and force companies to lay off employees and save cash.

Boeing Co (BA.N), once a symbol of America’s industrial might, has offered buyout and early retirement packages to employees, sending its shares down 5.68%.

Investors continue to absorb a wave of bad economic news that will continue to paint a grim picture. Initial claims for unemployment benefits last week rose to 6.65 million, exceeding the top end of economists’ estimates at 5.25 million.

“Overall this is a little bit of a victory in and of the fact that it was such a bad number and the market did kind of shake it off. It is also the market preparing for a lot more bad numbers,” said Kinahan.

As earnings season slowly begins to get underway, Walgreens (WBA.O) fell 6.30% after the drugstore retailer reported a steep decline in U.S same-store sales in the last week of March. [L4N2BQ32Z]

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.61-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.34-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 20 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 6 new highs and 132 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.64 billion shares, compared with the 15.87 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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U.S. Treasury to tap Wall Street advisory firms on airline aid: WSJ

(Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department plans to hire PJT Partners Inc (PJT.N), Moelis & Co (MC.N) and Perella Weinberg Partners to advise on the airline portion of Washington’s $2 trillion stimulus bill, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Each firm is likely to advise on aid to one of three subsectors: commercial airlines, cargo carriers and firms critical to national security, such as Boeing Co (BA.N), the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The appointments could be disclosed this week, WSJ said, adding the plans are yet to be finalized.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the Treasury earlier in the day to not hold up $25 billion in cash grants approved by Congress last week to airlines for payroll costs.

Congress approved legislation last week authorizing the $25 billion for passenger airlines, as well as $4 billion for cargo carriers and $3 billion in cash for airport contractors like caterers and airplane cleaners.

Moelis declined to comment. Treasury, PJT Partners and Perella Weinberg Partners did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

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Dow falls 600 points to start second quarter as virus anxiety grows

(Reuters) – The Dow Jones fell 600 points on Wednesday as investors fled to safe-haven assets after new orders for U.S.-made goods plunged to an 11-year low and the White House issued a dire warning on the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic.

The blue-chip Dow and the S&P 500 were set to extend losses entering into the second quarter, as efforts to contain the outbreak resulted in deserted shopping streets, massive staff furloughs and a halt in business activity.

Meanwhile, the collapse in oil prices brought about its first major casualty, with shale producer Whiting Petroleum (WLL.N) filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Its shares nearly halved in value.

Companies on the benchmark index have lost about $6.3 trillion in market value so far this year, even as major governments and central banks have announced trillions of dollars in measures to thwart a global recession.

Goldman Sachs now expects sequential real U.S. GDP to plummet 34% in the second quarter on an annualized basis.

“People are concerned with the economic reality of both the depth as well as the duration of what this episode will be for the global economy,” said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in North Carolina.

“There is room for further downside and we are still advocating for caution.”

The rush to safer assets pushed longer-term yields on U.S. Treasuries lower, putting pressure on interest-sensitive bank stocks .SPXBK, which fell 6.4%. The financials sector was the biggest drag on the S&P 500. [US/]

Consumer staples .SPLRCS stocks, utilities .SPLRCU and real estate .SPLRCR, which are considered stable during times of extreme volatility, also fell between 1% and 7%.

With the quarterly reporting season set to begin in two weeks, S&P 500 companies are expected to enter an earnings recession in 2020, falling 3.7% in the first quarter and 9.6% in the second.

However, some analysts expressed optimism.

“This will take some time to overcome, but markets will rise in the second quarter on expectations of economic data sharply improving in the second half of 2020,” said Barry Bannister, head of institutional equity strategy at Stifel Financial in Baltimore.

At 11:36 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 575.69 points, or 2.63%, at 21,341.47, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 76.78 points, or 2.97%, at 2,507.81 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 180.05 points, or 2.34%, at 7,520.05.

The energy sector .SPNY shed another 3.6%, with experts now saying oil prices could touch single digits, exacerbated by a share tussle among top producers as the world runs out of storage space.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 7.88-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 4.78-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and nine new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded six new highs and 41 new lows.

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Bostic: Fed programs could be broadened if they have missed important parts of economy

(Reuters) – As U.S. officials role out trillions of dollars in new economic support, a Federal Reserve policymaker on Monday said focus will now shift to whether those programs prove adequate or need to be expanded even further.

U.S. elected officials last week approved a more than $2 trillion emergency economic program and the Fed is expected to layer on more than twice that amount in programs to keep borrowing costs cheap and ensure companies and families have access to credit needed to bridge the health crisis.

No one’s assuming it will be enough.

“What we are going to try to do is figure that out in the next couple of weeks,” Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said when asked during a webinar on housing if the federal efforts approved so far are large enough to backstop an economy that may need to spend at least another month in a state of relative shutdown.

“If we are missing important parts of the economy I’d be very open to considering additional ways to support those parts of the economy…I view this as an emergency situation. All hands on deck. You do whatever you have to make sure we get through this as whole as possible,” Bostic said.

Fed staff will be looking at how broadly the programs announced so far are used, whether efforts are needed to encourage small businesses, for example, to take advantage of forgivable federal loans to maintain their staff, and what may have fallen outside the scope of Fed and congressional efforts so far.

Some analysts already suspect that the central bank may need to broaden its willingness to backstop corporate bond and lending markets to include firms with lower quality credit.

Bostic said that moving quickly to fix problems as they come up will be key to ensuring that the economic damage to an otherwise healthy economy is confined to the short term.

“This is quite different than any crisis we have had in the past…This is first and foremost a challenge in our public health system,” Bostic said. The fundamentals of the economy “are pretty good. If we can get through the crisis without having those fundamentals be seriously and permanently degraded there is some chance or hope that the economy can rebound quite rapidly.”

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U.S. House Democrats chart next coronavirus aid bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives has begun work on a fourth coronavirus bill targeting a slew of crisis issues from short supplies of medical equipment and protective gear to enhanced worker protections, infrastructure needs and additional payments to individuals, Democratic lawmakers said on Monday.

“We must do more to help our helpers in this moment of national crisis. Delays in producing enough PPE (personal protective equipment) and ventilators will cost lives that should not have to be lost. The president must use the full powers of the Defense Production Act,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on a teleconference with reporters.

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Wall St. gains as U.S. extends shutdown to limit virus spread

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Monday as President Donald Trump followed last week’s massive fiscal stimulus package by extending his stay-at-home guidelines, leaving investors hopeful the economic impact of the coronavirus could still be contained. A record $2.2 trillion in aid and policy easing from the Federal Reserve helped equities recover some of their losses last week, with the S&P 500 .SPX posting its biggest weekly percentage gain in over a decade and the Dow Jones .DJI its best since 1938.

That is convincing few that the worst of the most dramatic sell-off in a decade is over, and Wall Street’s fear gauge , which predicts future volatility, is still running as high as it has been since the 2008 financial crisis.

However, the prospect of more government stimulus has given investors something to hold on to as they wait for signs of economic relief from the pandemic. All three main indexes rose by more than 2% on Monday.

“It’s a positive that precautionary measures are being extended,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“The market is probably somewhat relieved over that because at least we’ll be able to see, from the virus perspective, when we can reach a point of being able to get back into growth mode.”

Even taking last week’s bounce into account, the severity of the spread of the virus and the likelihood of a deep global recession have so-far knocked $7 trillion off the value of S&P 500 companies.

The volatility has been extraordinary and sustained, with the Dow gaining nearly 2,000 points in one session, only to fall almost 3,000 points the next day.

“Until we’ve got some evidence that can help deal with the virus, it’s probably more choppy markets ahead,” said Noah Hamman, chief executive office of AdvisorShares in Bethesda, Maryland.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) said on Saturday it expected real U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) to fall 10% in the first quarter and plunge 25% in the second quarter.

All of the major S&P sectors, however, were higher with technology stocks .SPLRCT providing the biggest boost.

The healthcare sector .SPXHC was the second-biggest support to the benchmark index as progress on coronavirus vaccines and tests being developed by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) lifted their shares by about 6.7% and 7.3%, respectively.

At 11:23 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 444.16 points, or 2.05%, at 22,080.94, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 57.74 points, or 2.27%, at 2,599.21 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 198.16 points, or 2.64%, at 7,700.54.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.N), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) and Carnival Corp (CCL.N) were the top decliners after Berenberg slashed its price targets on cruise operators by about a third.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.51-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded five new highs and 19 new lows.

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Wall Street tumbles as U.S. virus cases pass 100,000

(Reuters) – Wall Street stocks tumbled on Friday, ending a massive three-day surge after doubts about the fate of the U.S. economy resurfaced and the number of coronavirus cases in the country climbed.

U.S. stocks deepened their losses late in the session, even after the House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion aid package – the largest in American history – to help people and companies cope with an economic downturn caused by the coronavirus outbreak and provide hospitals with urgently needed medical supplies.

The United States has surpassed China and Italy as the country with the most coronavirus cases. The number of U.S. cases passed 100,000, and the death toll exceeded 1,500.

“We have still not fully understood the degree of the economic impact,” warned Massud Ghaussy, senior analyst at Nasdaq IR Intelligence in New York.

“Currently, from a policymaker’s perspective, it’s a relative balance between managing the spread of the virus and opening the economy.”

After the market closed, President Donald Trump signed the stimulus package into law.

The bill, along with unprecedented policy easing by the Federal Reserve, helped the S&P 500 .SPX surge 10.2% for the week, its best week since 2009. But the U.S. stock market benchmark is still down about 25% from its February high.

In its strongest three-day performance since 1931, the Dow surged 21% in three straight days through Thursday, establishing it in a bull market, according to one widely used definition. Even after Friday’s drop, the Dow ended 12.8% higher, its best week since 1938.

Many investors see a strong risk the market could fall deeply again as coronavirus infections increase and more people die, however.

“Next week will depend on what happens over the weekend,” said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest. “If there is a major acceleration over the weekend of coronavirus cases in New York and other states and the hospital system continues to get jammed up, then I think it will be a rough week for the market.”

Macroeconomic indicators offered a glimpse of the economic devastation from the crisis as the lockdown of major cities upends the lives of millions of Americans.

U.S. consumer sentiment dropped to a near 3-1/2-year low in March, according to a survey released on Friday, a day after data showed a record 3 million surge in jobless claims last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI slumped 4.06% to end at 21,636.78 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 3.37% to 2,541.47.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 3.79% to 7,502.38.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 13.4 billion shares, its lowest since March 5, according to Refinitiv data.

Delta Airlines (DAL.N), American Airlines (AAL.O) and United Airlines (UAL.O) fell between 6% and 11% as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the help designated for airlines in the aid package was not a bailout and that taxpayers would need to be compensated.

Boeing Co (BA.N) slumped 10%, but was still up more than 70% for the week, after Mnuchin said the planemaker had no intention of using federal money.

The banking index .SPXBK fell 4.6%, tracking U.S. Treasury yields as investors sought safety in high-quality assets.

The energy index .SPNY was the biggest percentage loser among the 11 major S&P sectors, sliding 6.9%, following a drop in oil prices.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.17-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.98-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded nine new highs and 39 new lows.

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U.S. House leaders determined to pass $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives are determined to pass a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday, or at the very latest on Saturday, hoping to provide the quickest help possible as deaths mount and the economy reels.

On a call with fellow Democrats on Thursday afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged House members not to do anything to delay the unprecedented economic aid package that the U.S. Senate backed unanimously on Wednesday night, lawmakers and aides said.

But there were warnings later on Thursday that at least one Republican might act to delay the vote into the weekend.

Representative Madeleine Dean said the message on Pelosi’s two-hour call was “Let’s get this done tomorrow if we possibly can. If not, at the very latest Saturday.”

Dean said she would drive to Washington from her Pennsylvania district for the debate, due to start on Friday morning. “It was so obvious from everyone’s conversation on the call, we know what we have to do. We have to get relief to the American people now,” Dean said.

The Senate bill – which would be the largest fiscal relief measure ever passed by the U.S. Congress – will rush direct payments to Americans within three weeks if the Democratic-controlled House backs it and Republican President Donald Trump signs it into law.

“The House of Representatives must now pass this bill, hopefully without delay. I think it’s got tremendous support,” Trump said at a daily coronavirus briefing.

Related Coverage

  • U.S. House sets Friday debate for coronavirus aid bill
  • Factbox: What's in the $2.2 trillion Senate coronavirus rescue package

The $2.2 trillion measure includes $500 billion to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for payments of up to $3,000 to millions of families.

The legislation will also provide $350 billion for small-business loans, $250 billion for expanded unemployment aid and at least $100 billion for hospitals and related health systems.

The Republican-led Senate approved it 96-0 late on Wednesday. The unanimous vote, a rare departure from bitter partisanship in Washington, underscored how seriously members of Congress are taking the global pandemic as Americans suffer and the medical system threatens to buckle.

DEATHS MOUNT, MILLIONS OUT OF WORK

Pelosi told a weekly news conference she expected the bill would have strong support from House Democrats and Republicans.

The United States surpassed China and Italy on Thursday as the country with the most coronavirus cases, according to a Reuters tally. The number of U.S. cases passed 82,000, and the death toll reached almost 1,200.

The crisis has dealt a crushing blow to the economy, with thousands of businesses closing or cutting back. The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to 3.28 million, the highest level ever.

Pelosi said there was no question more money would be needed to fight the coronavirus. She said House committees would work on the next phase in the near term, even if the full chamber is not in session.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy also backs the relief plan. But he wants it to be allowed to work before deciding on more legislation.

“This will be probably the largest bill anybody in Congress has ever voted for,” he told reporters. McCarthy predicted the measure would pass on Friday morning.

The $2.2 trillion bill follows two others that became law this month. The money at stake amounts to nearly half of the total $4.7 trillion the federal government spends annually.

Pelosi said House leaders planned to fast-track the rescue plan by passing it via a voice vote on Friday.

There could be opposition. Republican Representative Thomas Massie said he opposed the bill, and was uncomfortable with the idea of allowing it to pass on a voice vote, rather than recording how each House member voted.

“I’m having a real hard time with this,” Massie, an outspoken fiscal conservative, said on 55KRC talk radio in Cincinnati.

House leaders said late on Thursday that an unnamed House Republican might suggest a quorum is not present on Friday morning and call for a recorded vote for final passage. Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer encouraged members to be at the Capitol by 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) on Friday.

“We will see if the bill can pass by voice vote or if a Republican forces a recorded vote,” Hoyer’s office said in a statement.

The House has 430 members, most of whom have been out of Washington since March 14.

It would be difficult for all of them to return, given that two have tested positive for the respiratory disease, a handful are in self-quarantine and several states have issued stay-at-home orders. There are five vacant House seats.

The Capitol has laid out special procedures – including barring members from sitting beside one another – to minimize the threat of infection, both to members and staff.

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After Senate vote, massive U.S. coronavirus bill moves to the House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill sent the unprecedented economic legislation to the House of Representatives, whose Democratic leaders hope to pass it on Friday.

The Republican-led Senate approved the massive bill – which would be the largest fiscal stimulus measure ever passed by Congress – by 96 votes to none late on Wednesday, overcoming bitter partisan negotiations and boosting its chances of passing the Democratic-majority House.

The unanimous vote, a rare departure from bitter partisanship in Washington, underscored how seriously members of Congress are taking the global pandemic as Americans suffer and the medical system reels.

“When there’s a crisis of this magnitude, the private sector cannot solve it,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Individuals even with bravery and valor are not powerful enough to beat it back. Government is the only force large enough to staunch the bleeding and begin the healing.”

The package is intended to flood the country with cash in a bid to stem the crushing impact on the economy of an intensifying epidemic that has killed more than 900 people in the United States and infected at least 60,000.

It follows two others that became law this month. The money at stake amounts to nearly half of the total $4.7 trillion the U.S. government spends annually.

Republican President Donald Trump, who has promised to sign the bill as soon as it passes the House, expressed his delight on Twitter. “96-0 in the United States Senate. Congratulations AMERICA!” he wrote.

Only two other nations, China and Italy, have more coronavirus cases than the United States. The World Health Organization has warned the United States looks set to become the epicenter of the pandemic.

The House’s Democratic leaders announced that they would have a voice vote on Friday. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she backed the bill, and was open to passing more legislation if needed to address the crisis in future.

The House Republican leadership is recommending a “yes” vote.

The massive bill, worth more than $2 trillion, includes a $500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to $3,000 apiece to millions of families.

The legislation will also provide $350 billion for small-business loans, $250 billion for expanded unemployment aid and at least $100 billion for hospitals and related health systems.

There had been some debate about whether all 430 House members, most of whom have been out of Washington since March 14, would have to return to consider the bill. That would have been difficult, given that at least two have tested positive for coronavirus, a handful of others are in self-quarantine and several states have issued stay-at-home orders.

There are five vacant House seats.

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