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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic is getting worse, and the question is whether the economic recovery will go with it.

Why it matters: America adding 7.5 million jobs over the last two months pales in comparison to 20+ million lost over the two months prior.

  • Those new jobs were also overwhelmingly people returning to places where they had been temporarily laid off, Axios' Felix Salmon writes.
  • The number of permanent job losers went up, not down, rising 25% in just one month to 2.8 million from 2.2 million.

Between the lines: One nightmare scenario is that the economy recovers just quickly enough to kill political interest in economic stimulus, while not quickly enough to bring relief to the millions of Americans.

  • The big jobs number could suck the wind out of a big stimulus package in the Senate, Axios' Hans Nichols reports.
  • White House adviser Larry Kudlow hinted at that this morning, saying the beefed-up unemployment benefits may no longer be needed.
  • Senate Majority Leader McConnell is still slow-walking, and even though Trump talked up big spending and direct payments in his Fox Business interview yesterday, watch Senate Republicans to see if there's any appetite for a big bill. 

The bottom line: America will likely struggle to recover economically until it manages to beat back the public health threat.

  • The official overseeing the nation's coronavirus testing efforts told Congress on Thursday that the U.S. is "not flattening the curve right now."

Go deeper: "Axios Re:Cap" dug into the jobs picture with the Washington Post's Catherine Rampell. Listen here.

Go deeper

McConnell says he hasn't been to White House since August due to COVID-19 practices

Photo Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday told reporters in Kentucky that he hasn't been to the White House since Aug. 6 due to their handling of COVID-19 precautions.

What he's saying: "My impression was their approach to how to handle this was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing," McConnell said.

McConnell says stimulus "unlikely" before election despite Trump's desperation

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Kentucky event on Friday that a coronavirus stimulus deal is "unlikely in the next three weeks," per the Washington Post's Erica Werner.

Our thought bubble: Two sources close to Senate leadership said President Trump is desperate, has zero leverage to push them to support a bill crafted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Republicans aren’t inclined to wrap themselves any tighter to a sinking ship.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 9, 2020 - Economy & Business

As job losses continue, doubts are rising about unemployment data

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 25.5 million people were collecting unemployment benefits as of mid-September, and nearly 1.3 million people filed first-time jobless claims last week — more than 800,000 for traditional unemployment and 464,000 for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The state of play: That number excluded any new claims from the largest state in the country, California, which paused its program to implement fraud prevention technology and comb through a backlog of claims that had reached nearly 600,000 and was growing by 10,000 a day.