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Dow drops 900 points in two days as economic woes mount



The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 622 points, or 2.6 percent, on Friday, bringing its two-day losses to more than 900 points as the economic woes caused by the coronavirus pandemic mounted.

Thursday’s 288-point loss kicked off with dismal news that 3.8 million people signed up for unemployment insurance last week, bringing the six-week total to 30 million.

Next week’s initial claims will include, for the first time, data on how many people signed up for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which expanded unemployment insurance to freelancers, the self-employed and gig economy workers who are normally locked out of unemployment insurance.

Earlier in the week, the Commerce Department announced that the economy contracted at an annualized rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter, the worst since the Great Recession. The economy is facing a potentially unprecedented drop in the second quarter.

The two-day slide followed a monthlong rebound from March lows, in which markets found renewed optimism as the Federal Reserve Bank opened a slew of new emergency lending facilities and the federal government passed historic emergency rescue legislation.

Thus far, Congress has approved nearly $3 trillion in combined funds to keep businesses afloat, expand unemployment benefits, stimulate the economy and fight the pandemic.

Democrats and Republicans are facing off over what to include in the next coronavirus-related bill, in which Democrats are insisting on rescuing state and local governments and Republicans have drawn a red line on including liability protections for employers.



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