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Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added a mere 266,000 jobs last month. Forecasters had floated gains close to 1 million, making this the biggest miss, relative to expectations, in decades.

Why it matters: It's a major setback for the hopes of a speedy labor-market recovery alongside America's great reopening.

  • Adding to the pain: Job gains in March were revised lower.

What they're saying: "This is a big miss that changes how we think about the recovery," economist Justin Wolfers tweeted.

A bright spot: The labor force grew significantly, a counterpoint to the narrative that generous unemployment checks are keeping Americans out of the workforce.

  • The unemployment rate ticked higher to 6.1%, but the broadest measure of unemployment fell from 10.7% to 10.4%.

Who liked the report? Markets reacted with elation, pricing in a Fed that continues to press hard on the accelerator for the foreseeable future.

What to watch: Expect President Biden and his economic team to double down on their argument for a $4 trillion-plus infrastructure and social-spending package, which they say can create jobs in everything from construction to clean energy.

  • Republicans will likely argue Biden’s proposed tax hikes will kill what's shaping up to be an uneven recovery, but the administration’s focus will be on getting the spending plans passed — one way or another.

The bottom line: While it’s possible that April’s jobs report might yet be revised upwards, this number proves that economics is not a science and that America’s pandemic recovery is going to be rocky.

Go deeper

Fed watch: July jobs report means talking about tapering sooner

Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic; Photo: Elijah Nouvelage, Bloomberg via Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials say Friday’s blockbuster jobs report supports the case for tapering supportive monetary policy relatively soon.

Why it matters: With the economy progressing, everyone wants to know when the Fed will taper its quantitative easing program and eventually start hiking interest rates.

Clinton-linked lawyer indicted in investigation of FBI's Russia probe

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has returned an indictment against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer whose firm represented the 2016 Clinton campaign, for lying to the FBI about not representing "any client" when he presented them with allegations about a secret Trump Organization back-channel to a Russian bank.

Why it matters: It's the second criminal charge stemming from special counsel John Durham's review of possible misconduct by the intelligence community and prosecutors who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Federal judge blocks Biden administration's use of Title 42 policy

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a public health order that fast-tracked deportations of migrant families at the southern border.

Why it matters: President Biden has faced significant backlash for retaining the Trump-era policy, which was implemented as a COVID containment measure. The expulsions deny adult migrants and families the chance for asylum.