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Data: University of Chicago Energy Policy Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

Analysis from a University of Chicago energy think tank takes stock of the steep declines in power consumption in multiple regions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: While the stunning drop in oil demand is forcing a geopolitical reckoning, changes in electricity consumption provide their own metric of economies thrown into reverse.

What they found: Fiona Burlig, an assistant professor of public policy at UChicago, says the U.S. decline already matches what happened during the great recession over a decade ago.

  • "This is particularly striking because we haven't even reached the apex of virus caseload yet, from everything the epidemiologists seem to be saying," she said.
  • And when it comes to India, Burlig provides a sense of scale, noting that power demand there has been growing rapidly for many years.
  • "The electricity consumption in India from April 1 to April 6, 2020, is back at 2013–14 levels — a pretty shocking decline," she said in an email exchange.

Go deeper: Another Way to See the Recession: Power Usage Is Way Down (New York Times)

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A virtual school year will likely push retailers even closer to the brink.

Why it matters: Back-to-school season is the second-biggest revenue generating period for the retail sector, after the holidays. But retailers say typical shopping sprees will be smaller with students learning at home — another setback for their industry, which has seen a slew of store closures and bankruptcy filings since the pandemic hit.

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The pandemic hasn't hampered the health care industry

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

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The big picture: Second-quarter results are still pouring in, but so far, a vast majority of health care companies are reporting profits that many people assumed would not have been possible as the pandemic raged on.

Column / Harder Line

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Trump administration recently touted its approval of America’s first terminal on the West Coast to export liquefied natural gas. There’s just one problem: it probably won’t be built.

Why it matters: The project in southern Oregon faces political and business hurdles serious enough that those who are following it say it will be shelved. Its problems embody the struggles facing a once-promising sector that's now struggling under the weight of the pandemic and more.