Good Saturday morning. In light of the severe economic downturn we want to send a message directly to those who’ve been recently laid off or who are feeling insecure about their employment situation: We see you, we are thinking of you, and we will be your companion every single morning until you’re back on your feet.
*As of market close
U.S. markets:Wall Street locked the door and threw away the key on itsworst weeksince 2008. With stocks closing below where they were on Inauguration Day, the “Trump Bump” isofficially over.
Stimulus:On Capitol Hill, the race is on to save the economy. Senate leaders were working on a$1+ trillion rescue packagethey hope to send to the House on Monday. There will be long nights ahead.
Yesterday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomoordered all “nonessential” businessesto institute mandatory work from home for 100% of their workforces. That means everyone from CPAs to “nyc | content creators” will be joining the fun of no-pants all-hands.
But who counts as essential?The heroes working in healthcare, public transportation, and grocery stores—further evidence that the battlegrounds in the fight against this pandemic are first the hospitals…then the frozen food aisles.
Big picture:While those who’ve ransacked grocery stores can go home to their 124-pack of Charmin, the 2+ million Americans working in supermarkets mustreport to the frontlinesdaily. And thehardest partof their jobs aside from staying healthy while manning a revolving door of strangers? Keeping shelves stocked.
Read this before you buy that 12th can of beans
Empty aisles might make it seem like there’s a food shortage in the U.S. But America’s meat, vegetable, and pantry staples providers will be the first to tell you there isn’t—there’s just a logistics crunch.
Because COVID-19 took us by surprise.While the grocery supply chain is carefully calibrated to stock stores with just enough of what they need, not even Amazon’s algorithms could predict this unprecedented fear-fueled buying.
“We do not see a supply shock in the sense of the availability,” said one UN economist to Bloomberg. “But there could be asupply shockin terms of logistics, not being able to move it from point A to point B.”
The good news? Producers are already rejiggering strategies to solve for eggs.
Plants that once made items exclusively for (now-mostly closed) restaurants and school cafeterias havepivoted to supplygrocery stores.
Many producers are rerouting trucking fleets, keeping plants open overtime and on weekends, and hiring temp workers.
Looking ahead…some retailers expect panic-buying tocome in waves. Now that suppliers and grocers better understand how we’re mainlining packaged chicken breasts, they might be able to keep pace the next time around.
Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube are intentionallycutting streaming qualityacross Europe to make sure the internet doesn’t collapse under the pressure of tens of millions suddenly working from home, schooling from home, and vegging from home.
The rationale:Grainy Steve Harrington is bad, but no Steve Harrington is worse. Concerned the network infrastructure can’t handle the spike in traffic, EU officials have talked with streamers about taking things down a notchto avoid internet congestion.
Netflix is reducing bit rates for a month, which should reduce traffic on European networks by about 25%. Amazon is using a similar tack.
YouTube is putting all European traffic on standard definition by default for 30 days. That could cut the data required to stream video by over half.
Big picture:Not all users will need toexperience lower streaming quality. But everyone needs the internet. Knowing most home connections are second-string JV compared to theenterprise-grade internet serviceat workplaces and schools, government officials are taking preemptive steps to make sure we don’t break the only thing keeping us sane during social distancing.
+ Want to know how else Big Tech is handling COVID-19?Listen to this episodeof Morning Brew’sBusiness Casualpodcast.
When you time the market right, you brag about it to your friends. When elected officials time the market right, people get suspicious.
Thursday night, ProPublica published aninvestigationshowing that Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold between $628,000 and $1.7 million worth of stock holdings on Feb. 13.
Why that looks sketchy:
The market began its downward spiral just a week later. And around that time the Trump administration was downplaying the threat of the coronavirus in the U.S. even as Burr reportedlyraised the alarmin private.
Burr isn’t the only official under the microscope. Three other U.S. senators, including Republican Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, began selling hundreds of thousands in stocks in late January.
The response from the senators:We did absolutelynothing wrong. Yesterday, Burr invited an ethics probe and Loeffler said her investment decisions are made by “multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.” Loeffler’s husband is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
Just ’cause you’re indoors doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little sunshine in with you. A simple way to do that is with a pair ofbright yellow sneaks. Lots of people agree, because last spring and summer CARIUMA could barely keep theiryellow OCA lowsin stock.
CARIUMA’svibrantly colored canvas kicks add some spark to your daily routine—even if that routine is taking place all at home. These comfy sneakers are a spunky way to get from your work desk to your snack cabinet.
They’reridiculously comfy—comfy enough to serve as a pair of better-looking slippers. They’reeco-friendly—some of their sneakers are fully vegan, while all their shoes are sustainably sourced. And thevibrant colorswill provide a much-needed splash of positivity.
All week, Brew readers have been writing in with inspiring stories of people working together to help those affected by the pandemic. We compiled this list to a) make you smile and b) give you ideas about ways to mobilize your own community.
Stephanie:“To keep a local florist afloat, members of my community are sending each other bouquets. Once you have a bouquet sent to you, you send a bouquet to another friend, and then they send a bouquet to someone else, and on and on.”
Riley in NYC:“Sauce Pizzeria is delivering free pizzas to hospitals every day, giving you the opportunity to donate a pizza and they’ll match it.”
Perry in Reunion, CO:“A Facebook page was started in our community called ‘I Need This!’ It’s a place for community members to connect and help each other. Some people reached out because they need groceries, so there are others that go deliver what they need.”
Bridget in Portland, OR:“I want to give a shout out to Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle. If you order cupcakes for delivery to non-profits, underserved communities and others in need, they’ll pay it forward when they’re back on their feet.”
Pat in CA:“A neighbor printed a flyer and offered to bring food and supplies to seniors in the neighborhood. She put her two small children in a wagon and put the flyers in the mailboxes of her neighbors.”
Brew Crew: We put together acomprehensive listof ways you can volunteer and donate to help people affected by COVID-19. Please read and share.
Disneymade the Pixar movieOnwardavailable for digital purchase last night. It came out in theaters just two weeks ago.
Bank of Americahas hired 1,700 people this month in critical support roles at its consumer division. It’s also boosting pay for frontline workers at branches and call centers.
Airbnb, confronting significant losses, is considering raising capital from new investors, reports the WSJ.
They revolutionized the office furniture game. Now,Herman Millerturns their revolutionary furniture capabilities towards work-from-home. Whatever you need to make your newfound professional existence comfortable and productive—from office chairs to lighting—they’ve got you covered. Check out theiriconic array of WFH furniture here.*