Costco’s samples will make a comeback, but will look different than before
8:30 p.m. ET — Costco shoppers have grown used to snacking on samples as they browse aisles with family members and fill their basket with bulk items.
Those popular food samples — along with food court seating and more leisurely shopping trips — have vanished during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, the membership warehouse club began requiring all customers to wear a mask or face covering in stores.
But on an earnings call Thursday, Costco’s Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said sampling will return. He said the company will slowly roll it back out at stores, starting in mid-June. Don’t expect it to look the same though, he said.
“I can’t tell you any more, but it’s needless to say, not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample with your fingers,” he said. —Melissa Repko
United to offer voluntary separations to flight attendants, thousands of other employees
8 p.m. ET — United Airlines is preparing to offer voluntary separation packages to thousands of employees including flight attendants, fleet and customer service workers, the latest measure from an airline to try to reduce its headcount as the coronavirus continues to roil the industry. The United offers, which don’t include pilots, could be released as early as Thursday evening, according to people familiar with the matter. American and Delta in the past day have extended buyout and early retirement packages for thousands of employees. American, for its part, told its management and administrative employees that it aims to reduce those jobs by 30%, or by around 5,000 people.
Airlines are prohibited from laying off or cutting the pay rates of employees through Sept. 30 under the conditions of a $25 billion federal aid package.
But executives have said that they expect to need to shrink to match demand that has been devastated by the pandemic, travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders. Travel demand has ticked higher in recent weeks but is still down 80% from a year ago, according to federal data. Airlines have warned employees that involuntary measures are possible if demand doesn’t recover and if voluntary packages don’t attract enough volunteers. —Leslie Josephs
U.S. auto sales recovering but remain down
7:30 p.m. — Auto research firms forecast new vehicle sales to be slightly less than 1.1 million vehicles in May, down about 32% to 33% compared with May 2019. That would be a roughly 50% increase from their historic collapse in April.
Many consumers remain under stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, but big discounts — including Memorial Day specials and 0% financing offers for up to 84 months — are driving some to purchase new vehicles.
Edmunds, Cox Automotive and ALG, a subsidiary of TrueCar, expect sales of between about 1.05 million and 1.08 million this month.
May is historically a critical month for the industry as it kicks off the summer sales season — a time when automakers push to clear out current model-year vehicles to make way for newer cars and trucks. It the past five years, it has on average raked the third best month of the year for sales, according to Edmunds. —Mike Wayland
Nordstrom sales fall 40%, but there are bright spots in its earnings report
The Nordstrom sign is seen on the front of the company’s flagship store in Seattle. The luxury retailer is expected to report its first quarter earnings soon. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the company’s locations are closed.
Toby Scott | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
7 p.m. ET — Nordstrom’s net sales fell 40% during its fiscal first quarter, the company reported, but the department store chain also told analysts is has “sufficient liquidity” to work through the coronavirus pandemic and the rest of 2020. The company said about 40% of its department stores are now back open for business, after they were forced closed due to the Covid-19 crisis. And Nordstrom said it expects all locations will be open again by the end of June.
Another bright spot: Nordstrom ended the first quarter with a gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, of 11%, down from 34% a year ago. The company said inventories were down 26%, due to “aggressive actions to reduce receipts and clear excess inventory through increased marketing and promotional activities.” Shares were recently down less than 1% in after-hours trading, after jumping more than 3%. —Lauren Thomas
Texas clears the way for fans at outdoor pro sporting events
6:51 p.m. ET — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a new order that will allow a limited number of fans at outdoor pro sporting events, the Associated Press reported.
Outdoor stadiums will only be able to host 25% of their normal capacity and fans are still barred from indoor events, according to the AP. Leagues must apply to the state health department to get clearance for having fans in attendance.
The new order from Abbott updated an earlier decision to let pro sports host events without fans starting in June, the AP reported. —Chris Eudaily
Williams-Sonoma shares jump 10% as e-commerce sales drive earnings surprise
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
5:45 pm ET — Williams-Sonoma shares jump 10% in extended trading after earnings showed surprising strength.
All of its 616 stores were closed for more than half the quarter, but the company was still able to grow same-store sales 2.6%.
It’s online business kicked into overdrive, with revenue up more than 30%. The retailer said it was to tap into “a newfound appreciation for the home” among consumers. Nearly all of its brands showed growth, with Pottery Barn Kids same-store sales up 8.5%, Williams-Sonoma up 5.4% and West Elm up 3.3%. CEO Laura Alber says the company has “even more confidence in the growth trajectory” of its e-commerce business longer term as it was able to win new customers and still sees its sales accelerating in the current quarter. —Christina Cheddar Berk
Another round of stimulus checks may be coming. Here’s how to prepare
5:06 p.m. — All eyes are on Capitol Hill lawmakers when it comes to whether or not there will be a second round of stimulus checks. But there is something you can do if you’re anticipating more money: File your federal tax return, if you haven’t done so already.
The deadline for filing with the IRS has been extended to July 15. The information in that paperwork will likely be used to determine your stimulus payment, which is based on your adjusted gross income and the number of dependents you claim. The returns you file now will be from tax year 2019. So if your income went down or you added a child to your family that year, that could lead to a bigger stimulus payment.
Getting in your paperwork now also means you may get a refund, which could be a bigger sum than your stimulus check. In the meantime, Washington lawmakers must agree on the terms for a second set of checks to go through. For more on what is being considered and what to consider when filing your taxes, click here to read the full article. —Lorie Konish
San Francisco releases reopening timeline
Crowds – drawn by the sunny, warm weather – socially distance at Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco, Calif. to enjoy Memorial Day weekend, on Sunday, May 24, 2020.
Scott Strazzante | The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
4:52 p.m. ET — San Francisco Mayor London Breed released a detailed timeline of what the city’s reopening will look like this summer, but did not provide an end date for its stay-at-home order.
“We’re entering a new phase of this crisis and we feel comfortable that we’re at a place that we can begin reopening parts of our economy, but that is not to say that this virus doesn’t continue to threaten our city,” Breed said in a statement. San Francisco is currently in Phase 2A of its reopening, which allows curbside pickup at most retailers.
More restrictions will be lifted on June 1, when child care services, botanical gardens and outdoor museums can reopen under certain guidelines. On June 15, the city plans to enter Phase 2B, which will allow most indoor retail, outdoor dining and summer camps to reopen.
Professional sports games without spectators and religious services can also resume. The city expects to lift additional restrictions in July and mid-August, but reopening dates have not yet been named for businesses like concert venues and nightclubs.—Hannah Miller
House passes changes to small business loan program
4:47 p.m. ET — The House has passed a bill to give recipients of small business loans during the coronavirus pandemic more leeway in how they spend their money.The changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, which is designed to keep employees on small company payrolls during the coronavirus pandemic, passed in a nearly unanimous vote.
The Senate, which has floated a similar plan, will decide whether to take up the legislation when it returns next week.The bill would reduce the share of aid money businesses have to spend on payroll in order to get loan forgiveness from 75% to 60%. It would extend the time companies have to spend the funds, and push back the June 30 deadline to rehire workers, among other provisions.
The House easily passed the legislation at a time when Democrats and Republicans struggled to agree on how to provide further relief to a U.S. economy wrecked by the pandemic. – Jacob Pramuk
Quest releases new test with at-home sample collection
With the test kit, people can swab their nostrils at home and send the sample in to a lab for analysis. Results are provided via an online portal. The company said it expects to make more than 500,000 of the kits available by the end of next month.
Test manufacturers like Quest are still trying to ramp up the U.S.’s capacity to test throughout the population for Covid-19. The U.S. conducted an average of about 173,000 tests per day through April, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project. Capacity has doubled since and the U.S. has so far conducted an average of 330,000 tests per day in May. —Will Feuer
Boston Marathon canceled amid pandemic
Runners cross the finish line on Boylston Street during the 123rd Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts on April 15, 2019.
Christopher Evans | MediaNews Group | Boston Herald via Getty Images
3:31 p.m. ET — The Boston Marathon has been canceled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an announcement from race organizers at the Boston Athletic Association. The event had originally been postponed until September.
“Our top priority continues to be safeguarding the health of the community, as well as our staff, participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters,” said Tom Grilk, CEO of the BAA.
Considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious marathons, the race typically draws more than 30,000 runners from around the globe, according to Reuters. This is the first time the event has been canceled in its 124-year history. However, the BAA is offering a “virtual alternative,” in which participants can run the 26.2 mile distance on their own between September 7 and September 14, and provide proof of timing. —Hannah Miller
Students can return safely to campus this fall, says University of Miami president
3:10 p.m. ET — Dr. Julio Frenk, an ex-World Health Organization official who is now president of the University of Miami, told CNBC he believes students can return safely to campus this fall. Frenk said because college students are younger, and have a lower risk of severe illness from Covid-19, universities can implement protocols to hold in-person classes.
For the University of Miami, that includes robust testing and contact tracing, as well as changes to dorms and classrooms to provide more space between students. Additionally, wearing masks on UM’s three campuses will be a “very strong social norm,” said Frenk, a trained physician who formerly served as Mexico’s health minister. —Kevin Stankiewicz
Home Depot CEO says pandemic is creating new demand
3:00 p.m. ET — Customers have turned to Home Depot to buy cleaning supplies and jump start DIY projects. But the home improvement retailer’s CEO Craig Menear said the pandemic continues to create new demand.
Menear, who spoke at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Virtual Conference, said the company is adding high-powered cleaning tools to its assortment, including hydrostatic sprayers that can sanitize an area quickly. He said businesses have come to Home Depot to buy products that make their environments touchless. And he said new customers have shopped at its stores and website and discovered its wide variety of items.
“There are some categories of opportunity going forward that will just change as a result of this crisis,” he said. And, he added, cleaning standards will “change forever.” —Melissa Repko
Bucks co-owner says NBA could decide on resuming games by next week
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket against Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena on March 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
Michael Reaves | Getty Images
2:43 p.m. ET — The National Basketball Association could reach a decision about resuming its suspended season by next week, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry told CNBC.
The billionaire co-founder of Avenue Capital made his weekly appearance on CNBC’s “Halftime Report” and hinted that NBA commissioner Adam Silver will present “different options” about reopening at the league’s board of governors meeting Friday. He added board members use the weekend to consider the proposal.
Lasry said the board could meet again “early next week” and officials would vote on restarting games. The NBA plans to hold a call with team presidents and general managers later Thursday, Lasry said.
The NBA became the first league pro sports league in the U.S. to suspend games on March 11 due to Covid-19. —Jabari Young
UK further eases restrictions on schools, businesses and gatherings
2:38 p.m. ET — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said primary schools will be able to reopen to more children starting June 1 and secondary schools can resume some face-to-face contact beginning June 15. He also announced that outdoor markets, car dealerships and nonessential shops can begin reopening in June, CNBC’s Ryan Browne reports. The prime minister also eased regulations on private gatherings. Starting June 1, groups of six can meet outdoors while following social-distancing guidelines. —Hannah Miller
Kudlow says there are “glimmers of hope” for economy
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
2:21 p.m. ET — Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said on “The Exchange” that there are encouraging economic signs in states that have reopened businesses and that the Trump administration expects a strong rebound.
“We’re seeing the economy gradually, in phases, reopen in May and June. These are the transition months,” Kudlow said. “We’re actually seeing some glimmers of hope amidst all the hardship and heartbreak.”
He pointed to the high percentage of unemployed workers in April who described their layoff as “temporary” as a reason to expect the economy to recover quickly.
“If that is true, or if that is nearly true, then we may see folks coming back to work faster than we might have thought, let’s say, a month or six weeks ago,” Kudlow said. —Jesse Pound
Cyprus to cover costs for tourists who catch virus on vacation
2:01 p.m. ET — Tourists who contract the coronavirus in Cyprus won’t have to worry about mounting travel costs. The country will foot the bill for meals, accommodations and medications for vacationers who fall ill while visiting there, CNBC’s Vicky McKeever reports. Cyprus has also established a “Covid-19 hospital” exclusively for foreign visitors that houses 100 beds. The island nation has 939 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 17 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. —Hannah Miller
New York Gov. Cuomo authorizes businesses to deny entry to people not wearing a face covering
A pedestrian wearing a protective mask passes in front of a Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) store temporarily closed in the Times Square area of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.
Demetrius Freeman | Bloomberg | Getty Images
1:48 p.m. ET — Businesses in New York state are allowed to deny entry to those who do not wear masks or face coverings, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his daily news briefing.
The governor emphasized the importance of wearing masks in public and said he is signing the executive order to give store owners the right to say, “If you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in.”
Cuomo first ordered New York residents to wear face coverings while in public on April 15. The order took effect on April 17 and said any individual over age two is required to cover their nose and mouth when in a public space and unable to maintain social distance.
However, the original announcement did not clarify whether private businesses are allowed to deny entry based on face coverings. —Jasmine Kim
Dubai lifts major lockdown restrictions
Women wearing masks for protection against the coronavirus, walk in the Mall of Dubai on April 28, 2020, after the shopping center was reopened as part of moves in the Gulf emirate to ease lockdown restrictions imposed last month.
Karim Sahib | AFP | Getty Images
1:34 p.m. ET — After instituting some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world, Dubai announced that it was lifting certain restrictions.
The commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates is allowing gyms, movie theaters, leisure venues, child learning centers and all retail establishments to reopen at limited capacities, CNBC’s Natasha Turak reports.
Dubai endured two months of lockdown that included a three-week period in April when residents were required to apply for a police permit to leave their homes. —Hannah Miller
Walmart’s tech team will keep working remotely, even as pandemic subsides
The Walmart application is displayed on a smartphone in an arranged photograph taken in Arlington, Virginia, May 19, 2020.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg via Getty Images
1:19 p.m. ET — Walmart is the latest company to announce that some employees who have been working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic don’t have to return to the office anytime soon — or potentially, ever.
The big-box retailer has a team of about 10,000 software engineers, data scientists and other tech workers that build tools that power its stores and e-commerce business. Many of them work in Silicon Valley.
In an email, Walmart’s Global Chief Technology Officer Suresh Kumar told the tech team that “working virtually will be the new normal, at least for most of the work we lead.”
Instead of having employees come to the office each day, he said office space “will be used primarily for collaboration, to sync up and strengthen camaraderie.” —Melissa Repko
Rise of remote working set to hit oil demand, analysts warn
1:00 p.m. ET — Some companies have already announced that work-from-home policies will become permanent after the pandemic abates, and if that trend continues the impact on oil demand could be significant.
“The biggest threat to oil demand is the rise of remote working,” Bernstein said in a recent note to clients.
Business air travel could also take a hit as employees become accustomed to holding meetings over Zoom and other video-conferencing platforms.
“Right now you’re challenging that notion that business travel is the cost of doing business,” said Dan Klein, head of scenario planning at S&P Global Platts.
The firm is forecasting between 1 million barrels per day and 1.5 million bpd of demand loss from fewer commuters, and between 1.5 million bpd and 2 million bpd of demand loss from a slowdown in business air travel. The International Energy Agency expects global oil demand to drop by 8.6 million bpd this year to 91.2 million bpd. — Pippa Stevens
English Premier League to return June 17
Fans wear disposable face masks prior to the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on March 07, 2020 in Burnley, United Kingdom.
Michael Regan | Getty Images
12:43 p.m. ET — As more professional sports organizations move towards reopening, England’s Premier League will resume its season on June 17, according to a BBC report.
The soccer league was suspended on March 13 because of the pandemic, but teams were able to hold small group training starting last week.
The first games to be played are Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal. They will not include spectators. —Hannah Miller
Sen. Tim Kaine says he has tested positive for antibodies
11:32 a.m. ET — Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said he and his wife have tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus.
“We each tested positive for coronavirus antibodies this month,” Kaine said in a statement. “While those antibodies could make us less likely to be re-infected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide. So we will keep following CDC guidelines — hand washing, mask-wearing, social distancing. We encourage others to do so as well. It shows those around you that you care about them.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the first senator to announce that he had tested positive for the coronavirus in late March, just days before the Senate passed the first round of stimulus relief. Kaine was among the senators who voted in person to pass the relief package in the Senate, according to congressional records. —Yelena Dzhanova
NYC reports lowest daily positive testing rate since outbreak began
A screen grab of Mayor Bill de Blasio holding a copy of the New York Post during a coronavirus press conference.
11:13 a.m. ET — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said 6% of residents tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, the lowest daily rate the city has reported since the beginning of the outbreak in March. De Blasio said the city aims to remain below 15% daily positive Covid-19 tests.
“This is a very good day, 6% positive, and we’re doing more and more testing,” de Blasio said Thursday. “The more New Yorkers we’re reaching, the better picture we’re getting at what’s happening in this city, the fewer people we’re finding test positive as a percentage. That’s a great sign for the future of this city.”
De Blasio said the city will likely begin its phase one reopening in the coming weeks, which will allow for various retail businesses, like those that sell clothing, electronics, furniture, sporting goods and office supplies, to reopen for curbside or in-store pickup.
He said the city estimates that 200,000 to 400,000 residents will return to work in the first phase of reopening. Those businesses will be required to implement various modifications, such as enforced social distancing practices and increased use of personal protective equipment, he said. —Noah Higgins-Dunn
Delta offers employees buyouts, early retirement in race to cut costs
10:41 a.m. ET — Delta Air Lines has started offering thousands of employees buyout or early retirement packages, an effort to slash costs. The Atlanta-based carrier, the least unionized of the major U.S. airlines, had around 91,000 employees as of the end of last year. A package for its more than 13,000 unionized pilots is forthcoming, CEO Ed Bastian told employees in a memo.
Devastated by the coronavirus crisis, airlines are scrambling to reduce their headcount as they face paltry demand during what is normally the busiest time of year. U.S. airlines are prohibited from laying off employees through Sept. 30 under the conditions of $25 billion in federal aid, but executives at several carriers are warning employees of potentially deep cuts by October if there aren’t enough volunteers.
American Airlines told employees on Wednesday night it wants to reduce its management and administrative ranks by 30%, a cut of around 5,000 jobs. Delta didn’t provide a target for how many jobs it wants to lose under the voluntary measures. —Leslie Josephs
Popeyes’ U.S. same-store sales soar more than 40% despite pandemic
Popeyes Chicken Sandwich
Source: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
10:38 a.m. ET — As the restaurant industry struggles to stay afloat, Popeyes Lousiana Kitchen is bucking the trend.
The fried chicken chain reported domestic same-store sales growth of more than 40%, as of the third full week of May. Popeyes’ U.S. same-store sales were flat in the second half of March, a time when many other restaurant companies were reporting double-digit declines.
Ever since Popeyes launched its popular chicken sandwich in August, the chain’s same-store sales growth has far outpaced that of its competition.
Restaurant Brands International’s two other chains, Tim Hortons and Burger King, also have seen sales improve in May, although their domestic same-store sales continue to decline year to year. —Amelia Lucas
Casinos could be risky as Las Vegas prepares to reopen, Dr. Scott Gottlieb says
10:02 a.m. ET — Some of Las Vegas’ largest casinos are set to reopen next Thursday, but Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that is a risky move.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said the state’s outbreak has seen a “consistent and sustainable downward trajectory,” but reopening casinos threatens to bring travelers who could be carrying the virus. The announcement to reopen casinos and other businesses in the state comes as state and local officials across the country try to restart the economy in a bid to avoid economic devastation while also controlling the spread of the virus.
“You look at Las Vegas reopening its casinos,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “Those are the kinds of settings where I think you have more risk, where you have a lot of people crowding together, coming and going in indoor settings for sustained periods of time.” —William Feuer
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina.
Cineworld expects to reopen movie theaters in July, boosts liquidity
Source: Anthony22 | WIkimedia Commons
9:54 a.m. ET — The owner of U.S.-based Regal Cinemas, which is aiming to reopen its doors in July, has received a waiver from its lenders on a debt covenant and has raised additional liquidity that will allow it to operate until the end of the year.
Cineworld’s new funding includes $110 million of liquidity through an increase of its revolving credit facility and $45 million through the U.K.’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The company is seeking an additional $25 million through the U.S. government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Cineworld has a $3.5 billion debt pile and all of its nearly 800 locations in 10 countries have been shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. It suspended its dividend payments last month.
The additional liquidity “will provide it with sufficient headroom to support the Group even in the unlikely event cinemas remain closed until the end of the year,” Cineworld said. —Sarah Whitten
Dow climbs for a third day as jobless claims signal economy may be bottoming
9:38 a.m. ET — The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for a third day as the latest unemployment data signaled the worst of the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic may be over. The 30-stock Dow traded 114 points higher, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 gained 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, with a 0.2% drop.
The Labor Department said 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. Continuing claims, which represent a better unemployment picture, plunged by nearly 4 million in their first decline since the coronavirus outbreak.
Read updates on stock market activity from CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Thomas Franck. —Melodie Warner
Abercrombie & Fitch first-quarter sales fall 34% as coronavirus hampers business
Pedestrians are reflected in the window of an Abercrombie & Fitch store in New York.
Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images
9:29 a.m. ET — Abercrombie & Fitch‘s sales tanked 34% during the first quarter because of forced store closures during the coronavirus pandemic. The company joins other apparel and mall-based retailers such as Macy’s and L Brands struggling to entice consumers to shop during the Covid-19 crisis. Sales at the company’s namesake Abercrombie brand were down 30% and its Hollister sales were down 36%.
About 50% of Abercrombie’s stores globally are reopened, the company said. As Abercrombie’s stores turn the lights back on, productivity is returning to about 80% in the U.S. and 60% in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, according to CEO Fran Horowitz. The company is not offering a second-quarter or full-year outlook. —Lauren Thomas
JC Penney reopens 150 additional stores during coronavirus pandemic, after bankruptcy filing
9:09 a.m. ET — J.C. Penney said it has reopened 150 more stores in 27 states, bringing the total number of locations it has reopened during the Covid-19 crisis to 304. It said five locations are doing curbside pickup only.
The company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 15, said in a press release that feedback from consumers has been “overwhelmingly positive” as it reopens for business. It says nearly 500 shops should be reopened by June 3.
The company is set to permanently shut about 240 locations as part of its bankruptcy restructuring. —Lauren Thomas
2.1 million file jobless claims, but total unemployed shrinks
8:54 a.m. ET — Another 2.1 million Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, the lowest total since the coronavirus crisis began. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 2.05 million.
Continuing claims, or those who have been collecting for at least two weeks, numbered 21.05 million. That number dropped by 3.86 million from the previous week.
The insured unemployment rate, which is a basic calculation of those collecting benefits vs. the total labor force, fell sharply to 14.5% from 17.1% the previous week.
Since the pandemic was declared in mid-March, more than 40 million have filed claims.
Read the full report on weekly jobless claims from CNBC’s Jeff Cox. —Melodie Warner
CVS Health to have 1,000 Covid-19 test sites at end of week
8:30 a.m. ET — CVS Health said it will reach its goal of having 1,000 Covid-19 test sites in the U.S. this week.
The company said it will open the additional locations on Friday, bringing its total to 1,000 sites across 30 states and Washington, D.C. The pharmacy chain announced the expansion in late April as retail leaders, including CVS CEO Larry Merlo, visited the White House and met with President Donald Trump.
CVS is offering self-swab tests at some stores’ drive-thru pharmacy windows. To get a test, people must meet criteria set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and states, and register in advance on CVS’ website. Tests are sent to a third-party lab to be processed. —Melissa Repko
Virus will continue to circulate even with a vaccine, Dr. Scott Gottlieb says
7:50 a.m. ET — Even once a vaccine is discovered, the coronavirus will probably continue to circulate, becoming a “second flu,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.
“Even if we get through this, we get a vaccine, this is probably going to continue to circulate,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “It might be sort of a second flu, if you will, and from a productivity standpoint, if we have two flu seasons that’s not really sustainable, so we’re going to need to figure out a way to reduce the morbidity not just from coronavirus in the long-run, but also flu as well.”
There are currently no treatments for Covid-19 approved by the FDA, though several have been granted emergency use authorization, which allows physicians to prescribe the treatment in life-threatening situations and for research purposes. —Will Feuer
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer and biotech company Illumina.
EU needs to agree on more stimulus soon, top official insists
7:10 a.m. ET — The European Union needs to agree on additional coronavirus-related stimulus in coming months, a top EU official told CNBC.
The comment by Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president of the European Commission, comes after the bloc proposed a ground-breaking plan to help the region Wednesday.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, proposed to raise 750 billion euros ($826 billion) in public markets and distribute that money in the form of grants and loans to the 27 members of the EU. However, some countries are reluctant to approve the idea as it would mark the first time the EU tapped financial markets together on such a large scale. The proposal requires the agreement of EU members before it can be implemented.
In the meantime, there are other short-term measures available across Europe. The European Central Bank is buying government bonds as part of its 750 billion euro program and there are 540 billion euros available in unemployment schemes, business investments and loans to governments. —Silvia Amaro
Global tourism expected to slump most since 1950s
A general view of almost deserted Pantheon square during Italy’s lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Andrea Staccioli | Getty Images
7:04 a.m. ET — International tourism is expected to fall as much as 70% this year, United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili told newspaper Handelsblatt.
He said this would be the biggest drop since records for the metric began in the 1950s.
The drop in business could put 110 million jobs around the world at risk, he said. He added that there could be a boom in travel to rural areas while tourism in typically desirable, and densely packed, destinations drops.
The estimated 70% drop is based on the assumption that countries will begin to open their borders in August. While most European countries appear to be on track to reopen to international travel at the beginning of the summer, countries in other areas, including the Americas, are still grappling with uncontrolled outbreaks and the borders remain closed. —Will Feuer