Unemployment claims in Maryland skyrocket

As public officials freeze the economy in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, Americans have filed a record number of unemployment claims. More than 84,000 Marylanders applied for unemployment insurance during the week ending March 28, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. The total is almost double the previous week’s total of 42,334. (Balt Brew)

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This Baltimore County firm helps staff cannabis companies across the country

Mike Waranch is all too familiar with the assumptions outsiders have about work in the cannabis sector — for example, their idea of the dispensary, the main contact point for those shopping for legal weed and those selling it. “Working in a dispensary is not just hanging out smoking weed all day,” he says, adding, “It’s not as easy as just stepping in as a budtender and making your $16, $17, $18 an hour and loving life. It’s work.” (Balt Bus Journal)

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The companies that are pledging not to lay off workers amid the coronavirus unemployment crisis

On the evening of March 19, as statewide stay-at-home orders were just beginning, reports of job layoffs were surging and the number of U.S. coronavirus cases topped 14,000 in the United States, Marsh & McLennan chief executive Dan Glaser made a pledge to his employees. “I want to say to all of you that while we are in the thick of this global pandemic, your job is secure,” he said in a video message to the firm’s 76,000 global employees, including workers in its insurance and risk management, human resources, management consulting and reinsurance brokerage businesses. “There will be no counting of sick days or vacation days until things return to normal.” (Wash Post)

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CIty, BDC Launch Grant Fund To Incentivize Protective Equipment Production

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young and the quasi-public Baltimore Development Corporation have established a $50,000 grant fund to help Baltimore City manufacturers that want to start making personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 crisis. Qualifying businesses can request up to $7,500 to offset costs of equipment, materials and labor associated with the manufacturing of critical products identified by state officials. (WBAL)

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Restaurants trying to survive on takeout and delivery face a complicated calculation

Although the novel coronavirus outbreak has forced many restaurants to pivot and offer takeout and delivery, it still won't be enough to sustain a portion of the region's eateries and dining rooms once the pandemic is over. The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington estimates that 25%-30% of its roughly 1,200 members won't be able to weather the storm and will have to shut down once all is said and done. (Wash Bus Journal)

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Moody's downgrades Under Armour's credit rating

Moody's Investor Services has downgraded Under Armour Inc.'s credit rating, pointing to the company's "weak operating performance" amid the coronavirus pandemic. The ratings agency on Thursday lowered Under Armour's credit rating one step, from Ba1 to Ba2, and issued a negative outlook, noting that a ratings upgrade was "unlikely over the very near term." Moody's also lowered the Baltimore sportswear maker's probability of default by one step to Ba2-PD, and its senior unsecured notes rating down a step to Ba2. (Balt Bus Journal)

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Two of the region's largest companies have borrowed huge sums of cash in the face of the pandemic

Two of Greater Washington’s largest public companies are borrowing huge sums of money to keep cash on hand as they weather the impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic. DXC Technology Co. (NYSE: DXC) said Wednesday it is borrowing an additional $2.5 billion from an existing credit facility on top of the $1.5 billion it said it was taking out on March 24. (Wash Bus Journal)

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Metro adopts 2021 budget, but everything could change as coronavirus tanks ridership

The Metro board on Thursday adopted the transit agency's $3.9 billion fiscal 2021 budget, which includes a partial return to late-night train hours, some bus service cuts and a fare hike. While the spending plan is similar to a draft budget drawn up last year, its approval — via teleconference — comes amid an uncertain time for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The system's ridership has collapsed, the result of slashed service as a means to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, and the agency has taken a hefty financial hit. (Wash Bus Journal)

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