Mar 15, 2017

Fed raises rates for second time in three months

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

The Federal Reserve's interest-rate committee decided to raise rates by 0.25%, with the fed funds rate now sitting between 0.75% and 1%. That's in line with what markets were expecting, and the S&P 500 rose 0.5% in the minutes following the decision.

Why it matters: The Fed is accelerating its pace of interest rate increases — today's decision marks just three months since the last hike, versus a 12 month interregnum before that. That the market is taking this rate hike in stride is a good sign for the economy and stocks, as higher interest rates cause investors to demand a higher return for their investments.

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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.

1 hour ago - Sports

How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The NBA's Board of Governors approved Thursday the league's 22-team plan to resume play at Walt Disney World — a plan that also includes tentative dates for both this season and next.

Why it matters: The league's proposed trip to Disney World not only impacts this season but could have a domino effect that impacts seasons in the future — and could permanently change what time of year the NBA plays its games.