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Expand chart
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."

Go deeper

38 mins ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 400,000 coronavirus deaths on Trump's final full day in office

Expand chart
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Over 400,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

Why it matters: It only took a little over a month for the U.S. to reach this mass casualty after 300,000 COVID deaths were reported last month. That's over 100,000 fatalities in 36 days.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
46 mins ago - Podcasts

Bill Browder on Russia-U.S. relations after Alexei Navalny's arrest

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was recently arrested in Moscow, just months after being poisoned in an assassination attempt, in what could become Joe Biden’s first major foreign policy test.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Bill Browder, an investor and author who has his own history of clashing with Putin, to better understand the Navalny situation and how the U.S. might respond by using a law that Browder helped create.

3 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.