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Study: 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since May

People wait in line at a food distribution site in a Brooklyn neighborhood. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Nearly 8 million Americans have slid into poverty since May, according to a Columbia University study reported by the New York Times.

Why it matters: The researchers found that the monthly poverty rate for September was higher than rates during April or May, and it also topped pre-crisis levels, "[d]ue to the expiration of the CARES Act’s stimulus checks and $600 per week supplement to unemployment benefits."

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

Working from home is driving up power bills

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Residential electricity consumption rose 10% in the second quarter as the pandemic kept many people at home, new research shows.

Why it matters: The new paper from Tufts University economist Steve Cicala is another window onto how COVID-19 is shifting energy use patterns and creating financial hardship.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

More than 100 million Americans are out of the labor force

Data: FRED; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of Americans who aren't employed but aren't considered unemployed because they are not looking for a job skyrocketed to 103 million in April and still accounts for more than a quarter of the U.S. population.

Why it matters: The official unemployment rate has halved in recent months (to 7.9% in September from 14.7% in April) but the number of Americans out of the labor force has not fallen with it, and, in fact, rose in September back to nearly 101 million.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 14, 2020 - Technology

More tech companies plan to let workers stay remote post-pandemic

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A growing number of tech companies say workers need not ever come back to the office if they don't want to. The move comes as pandemic-related closures have already kept many tech workers out of the office for months.

Why it matters: Technology's spread into every corner of the broader economy keeps boosting demand for workers with tech skills. That pushes employers to accommodate tech talent wherever they find it.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Oct 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

Breaking down Microsoft's telework move

Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters. Photo: Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty

Microsoft is the latest big company to embrace the work-from-home experiment, announcing it will allow all employees to telework up to 50% of the time and some employees to work remotely forever.

Why it matters: Microsoft's approach will be a test of whether the hybrid workplace model can succeed at a massive scale.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Oct 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

The industries that are hiring amid the pandemic

Expand chart
Data: Indeed; Chart: Axios Visuals

While the coronavirus has dampened hiring across states and sectors, some industries have fully recovered — or are doing even better than they were before the pandemic.

The big picture: The sectors that have bounced back are supporting the new stay-at-home economy.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Oct 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

The debate over talking politics at work

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The virtual office water cooler is the new Thanksgiving dinner table.

The big picture: There's a brewing debate over whether politics belongs at work — and while most Americans think it doesn't, per a new Harris Poll survey shared with Axios, they also think companies shouldn't back down from speaking out on social justice issues.

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

Real-time data show slowing recovery

Data: New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New York Fed's index of real-time data indicators perked up again last week after moving lower the previous week. The Weekly Economic Index has been choppy since July showing that U.S. growth continues to recover but is sputtering.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 9, 2020 - Economy & Business

The numbers behind tech's big diversity gaps

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The government has a newfound interest in looking into discrimination in the tech industry, which is overwhelmingly male and has a big problem with underrepresentation of Black and Latinx employees.

  • The Trump administration, far from seeking greater diversity, is asking whether corporate goals to boost Black representation are a form of discrimination.

Why it matters: Experts say concrete goals are needed to ensure aspirations turn into results.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 9, 2020 - Economy & Business

As job losses continue, doubts are rising about unemployment data

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 25.5 million people were collecting unemployment benefits as of mid-September, and nearly 1.3 million people filed first-time jobless claims last week — more than 800,000 for traditional unemployment and 464,000 for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The state of play: That number excluded any new claims from the largest state in the country, California, which paused its program to implement fraud prevention technology and comb through a backlog of claims that had reached nearly 600,000 and was growing by 10,000 a day.