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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The April jobs report comes tomorrow. It will be almost incomprehensibly grim.

Why it matters: The report will tell us a lot of what we don't know about the coronavirus-ravaged job market: how widespread the job losses are by industry and demographic, how many layoffs are temporary, and whether worker pay has been cut.

The headline number will be the unemployment rate, which is expected to hit 16%. The best estimate for peak unemployment during the Great Depression is that the number hit 25%.

  • In two months, the rate will have more than quadrupled.
  • 22 million net jobs are expected to have been lost during the Labor Department's survey period, which ended in mid-April.

Of note: You're only counted as unemployed if you're actively looking for work. But because of state-imposed lockdowns, many Americans aren't looking for work.

  • Broader measures of joblessnesslike the U6 — may paint a more useful, and even bleaker, picture.

The bottom line: Economists warn the key figures from the report may understate the devastation of job losses.

  • The report "wasn't designed for a pandemic, and it is unclear how well it will capture all the unusual nuances that the current crisis presents," as the New York Times points out.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 12, 2020 - Economy & Business

U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits

Hundreds of unemployed Kentucky residents wait in long lines outside the Kentucky Career Center for help with their unemployment claims on June 19, 2020, in Frankfort. Photo: John Sommers II/Getty Images

Congress' failure to renew enhanced unemployment measures at the end of July is already showing up in consumer spending patterns, holding down retail purchases and foot traffic, economists at Deutsche Bank say.

What happened: The reduced spending aligns with the expiration of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits, which provided an additional $600 per week to qualifying unemployed individuals.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

5 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.