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We mapped out which drugs cause the most problems in each state, according to the number of sentences given out for each drug-related crime. The U.S. as a whole has a meth problem, while marijuana crime sentences were relatively low in 2016 except for Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Heroin is prevalent in West Virginia and Ohio, states which are often highlighted as centers for the opioid epidemic.

Why it matters

Both sides on criminal justice reform will use these numbers to bolster their side of the argument — whether to lower sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug crimes as suggested in the Grassley-Durbin bill or keep the harsher sentences as promoted by tough-on-crime, hardline conservatives.

The facts
Expand chart
Data: United States Sentencing Commission; Graphic: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
27 mins 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
47 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.