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A neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California that's been leveled by wildfires. Photo: Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images

The string of devastating hurricanes and wildfires across the United States in 2017 cost the country $306 billion in damages, a record-breaking number, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports.

Key stat: In 2017, there were 16 separate disaster events that topped $1 billion in damages. And these 16 events — which included storms, wildfires, droughts and freezes — killed 362 people.

The numbers, per NOAA:

  • A total of 219 natural disasters have cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion since 1980.
  • The average number of events costing $1 billion or more from 1980 to 2017 is 5.8. That number rises to 11.6 when considering the period 2013 to 2017.
  • Before 2017, 2005 — when Hurricane Katrina struck — held the record for costliest year. Natural disasters caused $215 billion in damages in 2005.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 min ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.