May 9, 2017

Behind Trump's Paris delay

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Sean Spicer said today that President Trump would wait until he returns from his first foreign trip at the end of May to say whether the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate change deal.

Behind-the-scenes: The delay in Trump's decision-making has as much to with process as it does with the genuine disagreement between the Steve Bannon/Scott Pruitt camp (that is urging Trump to withdraw from the deal) and the Ivanka camp (that's inclined towards remaining).

  • As senior advisors to the President, Ivanka and Jared Kushner have told associates that a big part of their job is making sure Trump has all the information he needs to make decisions.
  • That means showing him all the potential downsides of his actions. A White House official tells us Ivanka helped put in place a process with the Paris conversations to ensure the President hears from all sides and from people in both the public and private sectors.

Go deeper

HBCUs are missing from the discussion on venture capital's diversity

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.