Jun 7, 2019

Chart: How many jobs the U.S. economy has added each month

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added just 75,000 jobs in May, fewer than the 175,000 economists were expecting. Unemployment held at 3.6%, a 50-year low, the Labor Department said Friday.

Why it matters: Job growth screeched to a near halt at a time when every scrap of data is seen as make-or-break by people watching for cracks in the current period of economic expansion, which is on pace to be the longest in U.S. history.

What they're saying:

  • "You can’t read too much into one jobs report, but today’s weak jobs number adds to a growing set of indicators that point to a weakening economy," Betsey Stevenson, an economics professor at the University of Michigan and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, tweeted.
  • "The 75K jobs in May is unsurprising and not worrying: we would expect job growth to slow," tweeted Jason Furman, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama. "The slowdown in wage growth is surprising and worrying ... It should be rising not falling."

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Trump's clemency spree

Rod Blagojevich in 2010. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump announced Tuesday that he commuted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption — as well as issuing full pardons for former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken.

The big picture: The president's clemency spree largely benefitted white-collar criminals convicted of crimes like corruption, gambling fraud and racketeering, undercutting his message of "draining the swamp."

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Trump's improbable moonshot

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA is unlikely to meet its deadline of sending astronauts to the surface of the Moon by 2024, even with a large influx of funding.

Why it matters: The Artemis mission to send people back to the Moon is the Trump administration's flagship space policy, and its aggressive, politically-motivated timeline is its hallmark.

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Justice Department says U.S. attorneys are reviewing Ukraine information

Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) Tuesday informing him that the U.S. attorneys for the Eastern District of New York and the Western District of Pennsylvania are reviewing "unsolicited" information from the public related to matters involving Ukraine.

Why it matters: Nadler had requested an explanation for the "intake process" that Attorney General Bill Barr stated had been set up in order to receive information that Rudy Giuliani had obtained about the Bidens in Ukraine.