Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The health care system cut 42,500 jobs in March as the coronavirus epidemic forced providers to delay an array of nonurgent procedures and doctor visits, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The big picture: Almost all of the lost jobs came in medical offices and other outpatient settings, but many people who are fighting the coronavirus in hospitals are seeing cutbacks, too.

Driving the news: 96% of the axed health care jobs in March are on the outpatient side. Those are places like dentists' offices, physicians' clinics, speech therapy and vision centers. Hospitals did not net any job losses, according to BLS.

  • The federal government told health care providers to put off visits or procedures that weren't necessary — so it's logical that outpatient areas are the main source of job loss.

Yes, but: Hospital workers, including clinicians who could be treating coronavirus patients, have not been immune to furloughs and layoffs.

  • Bon Secours Mercy Health, a multistate, tax-exempt hospital system, furloughed all staff who are not involved with COVID-19 care. The system sat on a $4 billion "operating reserve" fund as of December.
  • ER staffing firms, including Envision Healthcare, are cutting pay and benefits of their workers, ProPublica reported.
  • A small Kentucky hospital furloughed a quarter of its staff, highlighting the acute financial pressures that small and safety-net hospitals face.
  • Some of the laid-off health care workers are outpatient physician assistants, who are trained as generalists and can be repurposed to help out in hospitals if more states relax physician supervision guidelines, said Jonathan Sobel, a physician assistant director at Northwell Health in New York.

Go deeper: Health care's hiring boom may not help the coronavirus outbreak, since most new jobs are administrative.

Go deeper

Downtown Chicago hit by widespread looting

Police officers inspect a damaged Best Buy in Chicago that was looted and vandalized. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago police responded to hundreds of people looting stores and causing widespread property damage in the city's downtown overnight, resulting in at least one exchange of gunfire, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The state of play: Police superintendent David Brown said the event was a coordinated response after an officer shot a suspect on Sunday evening, per CBS Chicago.

McDonald's sues former CEO, alleging he lied about relationships with employees

Former McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

McDonald's on Monday sued its former CEO Steve Easterbrook, seeking to recoup tens of millions in severance benefits while alleging he took part in and concealed undisclosed relationships with company employees, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: Corporations have traditionally chosen to ignore executive misbehavior to avoid bad press, but they have become more proactive — especially with the rise of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements — in addressing issues head-on.

The transformation of the Fed

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve is undergoing an overhaul. Conceived to keep inflation in check and oversee the country's money supply, the central bank is now essentially directing the economy and moving away from worries about rising prices.

What we're hearing: The move to act less quickly and forcefully to tamp down on inflation has been in the works for years, but some economists fear that the Fed is moving too far from its original mandate.