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COVID-19

China’s industries resume production as government officials ease restrictions

Jennifer Pak Mar 30, 2020
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Chinese industrial workers return to the job. STR/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

China’s industries resume production as government officials ease restrictions

Jennifer Pak Mar 30, 2020
Chinese industrial workers return to the job. STR/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Nearly all of China’s major industrial companies have reportedly resumed production — Chinese officials put the number at over 95% of large enterprises, including in the hard-hit province of Hubei — after much of the country’s economy shut down to contain the COVID-19 virus. But back to work doesn’t mean back to normal.

Chinese officials say major enterprises in the country’s main industrial belt — the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong — are basically fully open, but a quarter of small- and medium-sized businesses in China are still shut down.

The biggest complaints from companies are travel restrictions and mandatory 14-day self-quarantines, which prevent some of their employees from doing their jobs.

Local Communist Party officials are under immense pressure to restart economic activity and contain the coronavirus — two things that don’t always go together.

Cars and people are back on the streets of Shanghai. The parks are open and simple stuff like going to the movies or visiting a tourist hotspot is gradually being allowed again. Over the weekend, however, officials ordered them to close to prevent the risk of new infection.

Chinese officials are still cautious about restarting the world’s second-largest economy.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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