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White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he believes the unemployment rate will surpass 20% and peak in May or June.

Why it matters: With April's jobs report showing a catastrophic 14.7% unemployment rate, this is the "biggest negative shock to the jobs market that we've seen since World War II," Hassett said.

  • The unemployment numbers are even worse in Hispanic and black communities, which had previously been experiencing record-low unemployment rates.

Yes, but: Hassett noted that while unemployment numbers match Great Depression levels, the driving forces are different.

  • "There are a lot of economic differences between right now and the Great Depression. Here we understand why the economy is slowing down, and we expect that we can reverse it, whereas in the Depression there were a lot of other things, a lot of policy errors and so on that made the whole thing drag out."
  • Hassett pointed out that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecasts that there will be a recovery in the second half of the year, a view that he says the Trump administration shares.

Go deeper: Unemployment rate soars to 14.7% in April

Go deeper

The statistics crisis

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you don't know how broken something is, you're not going to be able to fix it. That's the crisis facing policymakers trying to repair a devastated economy without knowing the true degree to which the pandemic has hurt the country.

Why it matters: Some parts of what ails America, like the nascent mental-health crisis, are by their nature hard to measure. But other aspects of the recession, like the unemployment rate or national GDP, are foundational statistics upon which multi-trillion-dollar decisions are made.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.