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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Expectations are growing for Friday's nonfarm payrolls report to be a big one, with some economists expecting it could show the U.S. added jobs in April at a pace not seen since last year's record-setting hiring spree in May and June.

Why it matters: While it is not expected to match or exceed June's 4.8 million, some economists believe we could see more than 2 million jobs added, compounding the momentum from March when American employers added 916,000 jobs.

By the numbers: Overall, economists are forecasting 977,500 jobs were added in April, per FactSet. But with vaccinations increasing and real-time data showing business openings picking up and hiring taking off, economists are getting more bullish.

  • Last week's initial jobless claims reading marked the third straight week jobless claims were below 600,000, their lowest since early 2020.

What we're hearing: "We added nearly one million jobs in March. Since then vaccinations have risen markedly in the United States. COVID cases and deaths fallen. People are getting back to work safely," Claudia Sahm, senior fellow at the Jain Family Institute, tells Axios.

The increase in bookings at restaurants and bars over the past two months is "reminiscent" of May and June 2020 when leisure and hospitality employment led the way to record readings, Aneta Markowska, chief economist at Jefferies, says in a note to clients.

  • "Other COVID-sensitive sectors, e.g. retail, health and personal services, are likely to enjoy significant increases as well given the easing of distancing restrictions in many states," she adds.
  • "Net, our bottom up estimates put total hiring at 2.1 million."

One level deeper: Adding to the strong trend of hiring, more companies are giving out pay increases.

Yes, but: "Not all will return implying the labor force participation rate may struggle to return to pre-Covid levels," Bank of America chief economist Michelle Meyer said in a recent note to clients.

  • Even after March's strong jobs report, the labor force participation rate remains at its lowest level excluding the pandemic since 1976, and BofA's Meyer estimates that 4.6 million workers remain out of the labor force due to the pandemic.
  • There were still 8.4 million fewer people employed in the U.S. as of March than there were in February 2020.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Biden reaches agreements with Uber and Lyft to give free rides to vaccine sites

A coronavirus vaccination site in Miami on May 10. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Biden administration has reached agreements with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to coronavirus vaccination sites through July 4, the White House announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The free rides, starting in the next two weeks, are part of the Biden administration's push to administer at least one vaccine dose to 70% of U.S. adults by Independence Day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Biden officials green-light nation's first big offshore wind project

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration today gave final approval to Vineyard Wind, a project off the Massachusetts coast slated to be the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm.

Why it matters: While the green-light for the long-proposed projected was expected, it marks a key step in White House plans to help spur development of a suite of coastal projects off New York, New Jersey and other states.

Global temperatures are cooler in 2021 than other recent years

Data: NASA; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

With a moderate La Niña event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, global temperatures in 2021 are running decidedly cooler when compared to recent years.

Why it matters: The lack of a new warmest year record in 2021 could sap some of the sense of urgency among policymakers in the U.S. and abroad during a critical year for enacting stricter emissions cuts to meet the Paris Agreement's targets.

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