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Tribune News Service

Business Budget for Thursday, May 21, 2020


Updated at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 UTC)




This budget is now available at, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Another 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week<

^CORONAVIRUS-JOBS-1ST-LEDE:BLO—<Millions more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, indicating major job losses are continuing two months after the coronavirus pandemic started shuttering businesses.

Initial jobless claims for regular state programs totaled 2.44 million in the week ended May 16, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised down by 294,000 to 2.69 million after a clerical error by Connecticut labor officials inflated the overall nationwide figure.

850 by Reade Pickert. (Moved as a national story.) MOVED


^Survey: Majority of Americans believe it's too soon to reopen local businesses after coronavirus<

^BANKRATE-ECONOMY-SURVEY:MCT—<The U.S. economy isn't like the movie "Field of Dreams:" If you reopen it, there's no guarantee anyone will come.

With the unofficial start of summer just around the corner, states continue to tiptoe toward a nationwide reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. But just 1 in 3 adults (specifically 35 percent) say it'd take less than a month before they'd feel comfortable visiting local businesses if they were to open up between now and the end of Memorial Day — even with enhanced safety procedures, according to a new Bankrate survey. That total includes 22% who'd feel comfortable visiting within a week.

1800 (with trims) by Sarah Foster. MOVED


^During the pandemic, sequestered utility workers living at work to keep the lights on<

WRK-CORONAVIRUS-UTILITY-WORKERS:SD — Transmission system operator Blain Adams is one of 12 employees at San Diego Gas & Electric who has volunteered to take the classification of "essential worker" to the extreme.

To make sure the electrical grid stays up and running during the COVID-19 pandemic, Adams works a 12-hour shift for 14 consecutive days. And instead of going to his home in Normal Heights at the end of his workday, the 36-year-old heads to a recreational vehicle in a parking lot at SDG&E to get some rest before heading back to Mission Control the next day.

"Nobody wants to spend 24 hours a day for 14 days at their work location, living in a parking lot," Adams said.

1300 by Rob Nikolewski in San Diego. MOVED


^14-day quarantine complicates tourist rentals<

^QUARANTINE-TOURIST-RENTALS:SH—<Ken Mason is in the ninth generation of his family to run the Seaside Inn in Kennebunk Beach, Maine. He's worried he might be the last.

What's got him concerned are the COVID-19 rules that Maine and many other states have put in place requiring visitors from other states to quarantine for 14 days once they arrive. That won't work for Mason. His average visitor stays three and a half days.

All over the country, states have instituted the two-week quarantine for hotels, inns, golf courses and other amenities to stop people from states with high COVID-19 infection rates from bringing the virus with them, sickening local residents and overwhelming medical facilities.

1200 by Elaine S. Povich. MOVED



^Trump Doral announces 250 furloughs will now become permanent layoffs<

TRUMP-DORAL-LAYOFFS:MI — Trump National Doral Miami, President Donald J. Trump's Miami-Dade resort hotel and golf course, has announced 250 workers who were originally furloughed indefinitely will now be permanently laid off.

150 by Rob Wile in Miami. MOVED


^Biggest US mall is two months delinquent on $1.4 billion loan<

^MALLOFAMERICA:BLO—<The Mall of America, the largest U.S. shopping center, missed two months of payments for a $1.4 billion commercial mortgage-backed security, the latest sign of the devastating impact of pandemic-related shutdowns on the retail industry.

300 by John Gittelsohn. MOVED


^Tourists, beware: Foreign visitors' travel health insurance might exclude pandemics<

^CORONAVIRUS-TRAVEL-HEALTHINSURANCE:KHN—<It was evident that the fever, nausea and loss of appetite Vlastimil Gajdo felt on his wedding day was not a mere case of cold feet.

Gajdo , 65, fell ill in Honolulu in March after arriving with his bride-to-be from the Czech Republic. He and Sylva Di Sandro, 58, intended to marry and honeymoon on the island.

While they did tie the knot, they also engaged in serious battle with the novel coronavirus. He was in the hospital for two weeks, some of it in intensive care, on a ventilator. Like many visitors to the U.S., who are aware that health care prices here can be higher than back home, Gajdo purchased a travel insurance plan that covered up to $300,000 in medical expenses.

1000 by Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, Kaiser Health News. MOVED



^New pandemic rules make it easier to navigate mortgage closings<

^REAL-BANKRATE-CLOSING:MCT—<Responding quickly to changes in the country, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) put in place loan origination flexibilities which applied to all Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-backed mortgages.

1200 (with trims) by Natalie Campisi. MOVED


^Refinancing your mortgage in a pandemic: Expect longer waits, virtual process<

^REAL-BANKRATE-REFINANCING:MCT—<Heather Morris wanted to pull some cash from her Georgia home to pay for renovations, and she was eager to take advantage of rock-bottom mortgage rates. But when her lender told her in March that it could take six months to process her refinancing, Morris wasn't hopeful.

"I didn't think it was going to happen," Morris recalls.

She persevered, and Morris' refinance with Navy Federal Credit Union closed in mid-May. In addition to a longer-than-normal wait, Morris experienced other oddities. As Morris saw firsthand, the mortgage industry is coping with a one-two punch that has complicated the process of refinancing.

950 by Jeff Ostrowski. MOVED


^There's a real chance that coronavirus could bring inflation to home prices and mortgage rates<

^REAL-BANKRATE-INFLATION:MCT—<The Federal Reserve has defanged inflation, once a fearsome foe. For proof, consider that the U.S. inflation rate last topped 4% in 1991.

But as American taxpayers spend trillions to blunt the coronavirus' economic carnage, consumer price increases might be heading back to that level or even higher, a prominent housing economist says. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, foresees a path from today's massive government spending to a spike in inflation in perhaps five years.

Yun predicts overall inflation will land in a range of 4% to 7%, although it's not a widely held forecast. Many economists and market watchers anticipate no return to inflation.

850 by Jeff Ostrowski. MOVED


^Why home prices should perform far better than overall economy<

^REAL-RATE-HOMEPRICES:GRA—<The coronavirus crisis sent stocks plummeting, but home prices should hold up better because of a housing shortage.

Three-quarters of brokers report their clients haven't lowered prices because of the economic contraction, according to an April 30 survey from the National Association of Realtors. One in five buyers had dropped out of the market, but house prices are being supported by lower interest rates, which make mortgages more affordable, said Lawrence Yun, the association's chief economist.

750 by Neal Templin. MOVED



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REAL-REALESTATE-QA:FL — 400 by Gary M. Singer.

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