Top Headlines: Unemployment reaches 450,000, Lawmakers approve $1.25 billion school bond issue

Unreliable overseas supply chain for PPE could be our new ticket
Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield says the state’s business community has stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic by shifting output to produce badly needed personal protective equipment and medical gear for health care workers and ordinary citizens. There’s even potential for Alabama to become a domestic hub for permanent PPE production since overseas supply lines now appear unreliable. – Made In Alabama

Coronavirus has now put 450,000 on unemployment rolls in state
Nearly 450,000 Alabamians have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus-fueled shutdown of businesses began about two months ago, according to Alabama Department of Labor statistics released Thursday. A little less than 30,000 Alabamians filed initial unemployment claims last week, including 19,452 claims related to the pandemic, the agency said. –

Alabama reports largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases
Alabama reported nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 cases over the last seven days — the highest number of new reported cases over a seven-day period since the outbreak began. Thursday also showed the largest single-day increase in new reported cases. The increase comes as the governor is coming under increasing pressure from business groups and Republican state lawmakers to further reopen the economy. – AL Political Reporter

Lawmakers approve $1.25 billion school bond issue
Alabama lawmakers on Thursday approved a $1.25 billion bond issue for school construction in the largest capital improvement project in more than a decade. The House of Representatives voted 68-5 for the bond issue to fund capital improvement projects at public schools, universities and two-year colleges. The bill now goes to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature. The Republican governor proposed the bond issue in her State of the State address earlier this year. – AP

Among other things, COVID-19 teaches the value of broadband
For well over a decade, Alabama leaders have dreamed of expanding broadband throughout the state. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, wants to allocate $800 million of $1.7 billion federal money for COVID-19 efforts toward a push to bring broadband around the state. “Our kids are not in school,” Marsh said on April 28. “Now’s the time to take some of that money, a big-enough section of that money, and use it to bring broadband across the state, every corner of the state.” – Montgomery Advertiser

- Sponsor -

Carnival leaves Mobile again, and taxpayers are stuck with the bills
It’s been six weeks since passengers from Mobile last ordered pitchers at the Carnival Fantasy’s RedFrog Rum Bar. This was supposed to be the heyday for Mobile’s cruising business. Last fall, the city signed its longest deal with Carnival since the cruise line first returned to Alabama waters in 2016. But now it’s unclear how long it will be before cruisers flock back to Mobile and city taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $3.4 million in annual expenses if its downtown terminal remains empty. –

Salvation Army in Birmingham simplifies food line process
Cars line up early at the Salvation Army’s drive through food pantry. It’s open Wednesdays and Thursday from 9am-11am. It’s quick and easy. You pull up, show your ID, and proof of residency in Jefferson County such as a utility bill. Staff and volunteers will load the bags in your trunk. Now with new guidelines you can pick up as needed. – WBMA

Lawmakers mount push to help revive automotive industry
A bipartisan group of U.S. House lawmakers from states with a large auto industry presence is mounting a push to aid the sector that has idled factories and seen car sales plummet due to the coronavirus. Nine lawmakers from both parties so far have signed onto a draft letter urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to consider fresh proposals to support auto industry employment in future coronavirus legislation. – Bloomberg

The latest Alabama business news delivered to your inbox