The daily business briefing: July 10, 2020

Weekly unemployment claims fall but economists warn of trouble ahead, Starbucks makes customers wear masks, and more

A Starbucks in California
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

1. Weekly unemployment claims drop but remain above 1 million

The number of Americans who filed initial claims for state unemployment benefits last week dropped by 99,000 to 1.3 million, a four-month low. Economists said the bigger-than-expected drop might have been partially due to the three-day Fourth of July weekend, because claims data is often volatile around holidays. "Don't be fooled, the economy's troubles aren't over yet, not by a long shot," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. Weekly jobless claims have fallen sharply since peaking at a historic 6.9 million in late March, but economists warn that hiring could sputter as coronavirus cases surge and many states halt or roll back their plans to let businesses reopen.


2. Starbucks requires customers to wear masks

Starbucks announced Thursday that it would require customers in its company-operated coffee cafés in the United States to wear masks starting July 15. The policy is intended to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection as COVID-19 cases spike in the U.S. The company said it was "prioritizing the health and well-being of partners (employees) and customers" despite resistance to wearing masks by many Americans. In some states and cities, authorities have made masks mandatory in places where social distancing is impossible, such as enclosed restaurants and stores. "It is our responsibility to protect our partners and comply with local public health mandates," the company said. "As such, our partners have the right and responsibility to refuse service to customers who are not wearing facial coverings."

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3. Biden campaign says 'Buy American' plan would create 5 million jobs

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday pitched his "Buy American" plan in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, that his campaign said would create at least five million manufacturing and innovation jobs. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's plan narrows restrictions on what can be considered an American-made good and calls for investing $400 billion in manufacturing and $300 billion in research and development for several industries. "America can't sit on the sidelines in the race of the future," Biden said. "The Chinese are spending multiple billions of dollars trying to own the technology of the future while we sit with our thumb in our ear." He promised to be "laser focused on working families" if elected, saying President Trump is "almost singularly focused on the stock market."


4. Stock futures fall after mixed day wipes out Dow's weekly gains

U.S. stock index futures dropped early Friday following mixed trading on Thursday. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were both down by around 0.5 percent, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing narrower losses. The Dow and the S&P 500 dropped by 1.4 percent and 0.6 percent on Thursday, erasing the Dow's gains for the week. The Nasdaq gained 0.5 percent as investors concerned about surging coronavirus cases in the South and West showed a preference for tech shares, many of which have done well as Americans have done more work and shopping online during the coronavirus crisis. The Nasdaq closed at the latest in a series of all-time highs, boosted by Amazon's 3 percent gain to a record high for the stock.


5. Disney World reopens with precautions amid Florida coronavirus spike

Disney World opened to annual passholders on Thursday, marking the first day visitors have been allowed into the Florida theme park since a March 15 shutdown due to the coronavirus crisis. After two days of previews for thousands of passholders, Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen to the general public on Saturday, even though coronavirus cases are spiking in much of Florida. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are scheduled to reopen July 15. Signs have been placed all around the parks reminding visitors that masks are mandatory at all Florida theme parks, except while eating. Disney has adopted numerous safety measures, including mobile ordering in restaurants, Plexiglass dividers to separate visitors walking in opposite directions, and limited crowd capacity to make social distancing easier.

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.