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U.S. markets wrapped up one of their messiest-ever weeks Friday, recording their worst finish since the 2008 financial crisis. The Standard & Poor’s 500 tumbled 15 percent from where it began Monday.

The craziness ran right up to Friday’s closing bell, as the S&P and Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 3 percent minutes after the World Health Organization warned that world health systems were “collapsing” under the strain of the pandemic.

The Dow shed 913.21 points, or 4.6 percent, to close at 19,173.98 — erasing all Trump-era gains. The S&P closed down 4.3 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slid nearly 3.8 percent.

Investors remain in the same fog they have inhabited since markets began their swift drop in February after the S&P and Dow had reached all-time highs. All three indexes are now in a bear-market decline of at least 20 percent from their highs.

“We had years of low volatility and rising markets, and this virus crisis made it all come to an end at once,” said Kathy Jones, chief fixed-income strategist at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. “There is no endpoint in site, and that’s causing a degree of panic because people are saying, ‘I just need to hold some cash.’ There will be more turmoil, but we flushed out a lot of the people who were leveraged. A lot of good things are happening to restore liquidity and order to markets.”

Markets lurched all week, but nothing signified the chaos like oil prices, which briefly dipped below $20 per barrel — unheard of in recent years. Oil prices are so low that the industry may go through a generational restructuring. Prices need to be at least in the $50-a-barrel range for companies and producing states to make a profit.

9:39 p.m.
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Sens. Booker and Sanders press Amazon to prioritize warehouse worker safety

Four Democratic U.S. senators, including Cory Booker of New Jersey and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, sent a letter to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos expressing concern that the company isn’t doing enough to protect its warehouse workers from the coronavirus outbreak.

“We write today to strongly urge you to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of your employees who are also our constituents, friends, family, and neighbors,” the senators wrote. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The letter, also signed by Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, cited reports that the coronavirus has hit Amazon warehouse workers in the United States and Europe. They expressed concern about meetings at the beginning of each shift, where workers stand side-by-side “in contradiction of guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The senators wrote they were “perhaps most concerned with Amazon’s stringent use” of write-ups by managers if workers don’t meet shipping goals set by the company that could lead workers to ignore safe sanitary practices such as washing their hands after they cough or sneeze.

Amazon didn’t immediate respond to a request for comment. But earlier this week, spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said the company is “going to great lengths to keep the buildings extremely clean and help employees practice important precautions such as social distancing and other measures.”

Read more here.

9:10 p.m.
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Homeowners are getting federal mortgage relief, but renters aren’t so lucky

Federal officials announced a nationwide halt to foreclosures and evictions this week, protecting millions more than 30 million Americans from losing their home as the coronavirus outbreak ravages the U.S. economy.

But the federal plans don’t cover more than 40 million renters, many of whom housing advocates worry may not be able to pay their rent next month. As renters and homeowners grapple with mass layoffs and business closures, housing advocates, the mortgage industry and banks are growing increasingly concerned that the country will soon face a housing crisis that will rival the one that helped nearly take down the economy a decade ago.

This time, rather than mortgage delinquencies growing over time, it could spike suddenly as people suddenly find themselves without a job, said Jesse Van Tol, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

Here’s what we know so far about the mortgage and rental relief is available:

9:08 p.m.
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3M says it will increase N95 mask production by 30 percent

A large manufacturer of the N95 masks desperately needed by healthcare workers said it will increase its global production capacity by over 30 percent in the next year.

3M, based in St. Paul, Minn., said it has doubled its global output of the masks since the coronavirus outbreak began, to a current rate of 1.1 billion masks a year. 3M confirmed that it is currently producing more than 400 million N95 masks a year in the U.S.

3M said its additional investments in output would occur primarily in the U.S.

Medical-quality masks have been in short supply, but a recent change in liability law will allow manufacturers to sell masks made for industrial uses to hospitals and medical workers, without fear of getting sued.

8:53 p.m.
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Why the government’s economic data may be strangely optimistic even as coronavirus impacts worsen

The Labor Department this week released the number of people who sought new unemployment benefits last week.

But the number was obsolete before it was even published.

That’s because of how the data was collected. The same problem may plague the bigger report about March’s jobs numbers, which is set to be released on the morning of April 3.

The government’s surveys ask specifically about unemployment for the week of March 12. The Post’s Andrew Van Dam, explains why these reports will seem optimistic in a time when the economic impacts of the coronavirus are worsening.

Since last week ended, searches on Google for “how to file for unemployment” jumped twelvefold. Compare this week’s searches to the previous one, highlighted in yellow.

7:23 p.m.
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U.S. oil workers paying the price in Saudi-Russian standoff

HOUSTON — Oilfield services firms have this week been the first companies to feel the hit from the sharp drop in the price of petroleum. While the producers have announced spending cutbacks from 30 to 50 percent for the rest of this year, the outfits that do the actual work in the field are cutting hours, cutting pay and laying off workers.

Truckers in North Dakota, executives in Denver and office employees in Houston are all feeling the squeeze.

Peggy McDonald Mauldin, 56, was laid off from Halliburton Wednesday, by way of a phone call she got as she worked from home because of the coronavirus. She worked in supply chain operations at the company’s North Belt campus in Houston and had been with the company 20 years as of March 1.

It came as both a shock and a relief, she said.

Just the day before, she had been among the 3,500 North Belt employees who had been notified that Halliburton was instituting a one-week-on, one-week-off furlough program, to begin March 23. Employees will not be paid for the weeks they do not work, but benefits will continue, said Erin Fuchs, the company’s supervisor of external affairs.

The cutbacks at Halliburton — including the furloughs, which are scheduled to last at least 60 days — are striking in a company that has been so prominent.

7:04 p.m.
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Making automakers churn out ventilators won’t be so easy, manufacturers and former defense officials say

President Trump has promised to invoke a wartime production law first used to churn out bullets, tanks and other weaponry during the Korean War, but former Defense Department officials from Republican and Democratic administrations say it could take more than a year to bear fruit.

A growing chorus of politicians in recent days have expressed hope that American industry will rally for a different kind of war, churning out ventilators, protective gear and basic medical supplies that are in desperately short supply as medical providers across the country battle the deadly virus classified as a pandemic.

But analysts and former defense officials say the efforts so far could have little effect on a medical device industry that is already producing in overdrive mode. Even the most aggressive tools at the administration’s disposal — nudging carmakers or aerospace factories to start making ventilators — could take more than a year to achieve results, the former Defense Department officials told The Washington Post.

5:45 p.m.
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Here’s why giving every American $1,200 is a really bad idea

Make no mistake: The Senate Republican plan to send every household $1,200 for each adult and $500 for every child is a really dumb idea. It is not just an inefficient and ineffective way to stabilize the economy — it’s also a cynical ploy by President Trump and the Republican leaders in Congress to buy the next election.

The better strategy is to get money into the hands of cash-strapped businesses that promise to use it to keep workers on their payrolls — or into the hands of laid-off workers.

If the government were to send an estimated 80 million laid-off workers a $500 check (tax free) every week for eight weeks, that would be $4,000 apiece — enough to keep their collective spending somewhere close to where it is now. And at $320 billion, that would be significantly less than the White House and Republican Senate leaders propose to spend.

This is a scary time. A lot has happened in the past three weeks. People are dying. Panic has overtaken financial markets. Countries are locking down their citizens and closing their borders. The global economy is tumbling into recession. Governments need to pull people together, act boldly and lend and spend freely.

Freely, but not stupidly. The right antidote for not doing any of the right things for too long is not to do too much of the wrong thing too fast. Sending money to millions of voters who don’t need it and can’t spend it may be good politics, but it’s lousy economics.

5:32 p.m.
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Gas prices drop below $2 in 19 states and are expected to keep falling

In 19 states, gas costs less than $2 on average -- With so many people staying home because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, demand for gasoline has tanked. Gas prices haven't been this cheap since Dec. 2016, according to AAA.

The price of a gallon of gasoline dropped below $2 in 19 states Friday, according to AAA, as more Americans avoided venturing out of their homes because of the spread of the novel coronavirus, driving down further oil prices already in decline.

Nearly the entire South, plus a handful of states in the Midwest, can find gas at less than $2. At the majority of gas stations across the country — 51 percent of all fuel providers — motorists can find a gallon of gas on sale for $1.99 or less, according to AAA figures.

The average gallon of gasoline nationwide costs $2.17, the cheapest it has been since December 2016.

“With more people working from home, demand is going to decrease, and with demand decreasing, prices are going to decrease,” AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano said in a phone interview.

Crude oil prices, which make up the majority of the cost of gasoline, began declining worldwide almost immediately after the new year in response to coronavirus concerns. By the start of February, crude was selling at $50 a barrel, down $10 from the start of 2020.

But prices toppled in March as the coronavirus spread and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, called OPEC+, could not agree on production cuts. Instead, Saudi Arabia chose to flood the market with crude, setting off a price war with Russia.

Saudi Aramco, the state-run oil company, said it planned to pump 12.3 million barrels of oil a day in April.Crude traded for $22 a barrel midday Friday.

5:12 p.m.
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Walmart issuing cash bonuses to hourly workers, says it has 150,000 jobs to fill

Walmart plans to dole out $545 million in early and special bonuses — as much as $300 a pop — to reward workers who are operating in overdrive to keep shelves stocked amid the coronavirus pandemic. It also plans to hire another 150,000 hourly employees.

Full-time hourly workers hired by March 1 will receive $300 and part-time hourly workers will get $150 on April 2, the company said in a statement. Those payments add up to $365 million, which will be supplemented by another $180 million in early first-quarter bonuses for store, club and supply-chain employees.

Many large retailers, including Macy’s, Nordstrom and Apple have closed their brick and mortar locations as consumers follow public health recommendations and “social distancing” protocols to stem the virus’s spread. Walmart has stayed open, though at reduced hours, to allow staff to replenish inventory and do more extensive cleaning. Business has been brisk as shoppers pile cleaning supplies, toilet paper, food and other essentials into their carts.

There’s been little respite for many employees, who in some cases work through the night to sanitize the stores and restock shelves. Reinforcements may be on the way with the planned 150,000 new hires. Walmart said it would cut its two-week hiring process down to 24 hours through an online portal.

4:20 p.m.
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Tax filing deadline moved to July 15, the latest measure to battle coronavirus downturn

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Friday that the administration has moved the IRS deadline for filing taxes from April 15 to July 15 due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus.

The new deadline will give millions of taxpayers more time to fill out their tax forms as coronavirus upends daily life across the country. Mnuchin made the announcement on Twitter, citing President Trump’s directive.

“At @realDonaldTrump ’s direction, we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15,” Mnuchin said. “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

“I encourage all taxpayers who may have tax refunds to file now to get your money.”

The Internal Revenue Service announced earlier in the week that payment deadlines on individual and some business returns had been postponed until July 15. Congressional lawmakers and tax experts urged Treasury to go further and delay both the payment deadline and the filing deadline. The IRS website as of Friday morning still said the filing deadline remained April 15, although on twitter the IRS pointed to Mnuchin’s comments.

The Treasury Department had previously announced $300 billion in delays to tax deadline payments. It had been reluctant to postpone the deadline for filing as well, in part because doing so may result in fewer Americans getting their tax refunds at a weak moment for the American economy.

4:00 p.m.
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Nikki Haley quits Boeing board, citing disagreement with company’s bailout request

Boeing’s request for a federal stimulus package amid the widening economic crisis has caused a rift in the aerospace giant’s board of directors, with one of its most high-profile directors resigning Thursday.

Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina governor, said in a letter to Boeing’s chief executive that she does not believe it is the federal government’s role to give financial assistance to some companies and industries and not others.

“While I know cash is tight, that is equally true for numerous other industries and for millions of small businesses,” she said in the letter, which Boeing included in a regulatory filing. “I cannot support a move to lean on the federal government for a stimulus or bailout that prioritizes our company over others and relies on taxpayers to guarantee our financial position.”

3:47 p.m.
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N95 masks made for industry can now be sold to hospitals, health care professionals

Vice President Pence said Thursday that new legislation will allow tens of millions more protective masks to reach U.S. health care workers each month, beginning immediately, but it was still unclear whether total production will be enough to meet demand.

New legislation signed Wednesday provides manufacturers of N95 face masks protection against lawsuits when selling certain masks to health care workers, Pence said. That will free producers including 3M and Honeywell to sell tens of millions more masks per month to hospitals, Pence said, helping alleviate alarming shortages that have surfaced in recent weeks amid the coronavirus crisis.

“They are available now,” Pence said when asked when the extra masks would hit the market.

The change means Minnesota-based 3M will now be free to sell 420 million masks a year to the U.S. health care sector, Pence said.

— Jeanne Whalen

2:06 p.m.
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JPMorgan Chase offering ‘front line’ employees up to $1,000 bonus

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, said Friday that it would give employees who continue to work in offices or bank branches during the coronavirus outbreak a much as a $1,000 bonus.

The bank didn’t say how many of its more than 250,000 employees would be eligible for the payments, which would be distributed in two batches in April and May. Full and part-time employees who make less than $60,000 a year are eligible, the bank said in a note to employees. The size of payment will depend on the employees’ salary.

“Many of our front line employees in our branches, operations and call centers, and other key sites who continue to go into their office or branch each day face particular challenges related to issues like childcare and transportation,” the note said.

It also giving all employees an extra five days of vacation to help manage childcare and other issues during the coronavirus outbreak.

JPMorgan Chase has temporarily closed 20 percent, or 1,000, of its branches, since the outbreak.

1:13 p.m.
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As economic tsunami grows, Senate coronavirus plan under fire from all sides

The Post's Jeff Stein explained March 18 why the White House and Congress are moving swiftly on economic stimulus amid the coronavirus outbreak. (The Washington Post)

An enormous economic stimulus bill released by the Senate GOP leadership is coming under attack from all sides with negotiations set to begin with Democrats on Friday.

The trillion-dollar legislation, aimed at stemming the economic carnage caused by the coronavirus, would send direct payments to many Americans and extend large loans to airlines and other industries. It would also create a $300 billion relief program tasked with halting a wave of layoffs at small businesses.

But it would limit payments to poorer Americans and include few restrictions on some corporate bailout funds, infuriating some lawmakers who believe the bill’s targets are misguided.

Trump administration officials and Senate GOP leaders hope to have the package enacted by early next week, but the widespread and bipartisan opposition raised questions about whether it could happen that quickly.