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Survey: Business economists’ outlook darkens since virus hit

WASHINGTON | A survey of U.S. business economists in mid-April found that one-third of their companies had shut down at least some of their operations, and two-thirds had laid off or furloughed workers or cut their pay to try to minimize the impact of the coronavirus.

The National Association for Business Economics repored in a survey released Monday that economic prospects have nosedived, with 86% of the 107 NABE members who were surveyed expecting a shrinking gross domestic product over the coming year. And for the first time since the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, more business economists reported falling sales than rising sales at their companies over the past three months.

NABE President Constance Hunter, the chief economist at KPMG, noted that the April survey “represents a very different world than the one we inhabited during the last survey in January.”

GM looks to hire more than 1,000 to make ventilators

KOKOMO, Ind. | General Motors in Kokomo is hiring for more than 1,000 full- and part-time workers in Kokomo to help it meet demand for medical ventilators during the coronavirus outbreak.

GM has said it wants to produce 30,000 ventilators by the end of August. On March 18, GM began working with Seattle-area ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems to increase the company’s production.

The starting wage for the temporary positions starts at $16.67 per hour. Holiday pay and health care options are available to employees after 90 days.

Diamond Offshore files for bankruptcy as oil prices crash

BANGKOK | Contract driller Diamond Offshore has filed for bankruptcy with debts of $2.6 billion, as the energy industry is hammered by crashing oil prices.

Court documents seen Monday show Houston-based Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. filed the petition in Houston on Sunday, citing the downturn that accelerated with a recent oil price war between Russia and other major producers.

— From AP reports