COVID-19

Shipping in the age of COVID-19

Kai Ryssdal and Bennett Purser Apr 1, 2020
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A tug pushes a barge down the Mississippi River through St. Paul, Minnesota. Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Shipping in the age of COVID-19

Kai Ryssdal and Bennett Purser Apr 1, 2020
A tug pushes a barge down the Mississippi River through St. Paul, Minnesota. Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

While many of us are staying inside to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, some people are are still heading to work, to supply the economy with essential products. For many barge workers shipping products along America’s waterways, dangerous conditions can arise on the job even without an global pandemic.

Austin Golding is the president of Golding Barge in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He spoke with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal about how his barge crews are navigating the coronavirus outbreak.

“The good news is while the guys are on the boat, they’re isolated,” Golding said. “The bad news is they can’t stay out there forever. So we have to have people come and go, and they know that they’re carrying a lot of the products that are going towards the fight against this virus.”

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

With a slow vaccine rollout so far, how has the government changed its approach?

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced changes to how the federal government is distributing vaccine doses. The CDC has expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older, along with people with conditions that might raise their risks of complications from COVID-19. The new approach also looks to reward those states that are the most efficient by giving them more doses, but critics say that won’t address underlying problems some states are having with vaccine rollout.

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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