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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

We have a very weak understanding of the state of the labor market. That's the main lesson from the massive gap between expectations and reality in April's jobs report — and points to the need to beef up the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Why it matters: Unemployment insurance is administered by the states, and the states don't send that data to BLS. If they did, America would have much better visibility of local labor-market trends — and more accurate monthly job reports.

What they're saying: The fix would make policy decisions much easier, writes former BLS Commissioner Erica Groshen in a new paper. It would also provide a lot of missing detail to the existing set of statistics.

How it works: While the monthly jobs report relies on a representative sample of workers, the unemployment data covers a much larger number of individuals drawing unemployment benefits. The bigger the base, the greater the accuracy of statistics — especially when it comes to minority groups

The bottom line: Groshen estimates the extra cost of putting together the improved system at about $100 million per year — roughly a 16% increase over the current $609 million budget. That, she says, is both doable and overdue.

Go deeper

The post-pandemic economy has already arrived

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With the recession officially ending in April 2020, we're now 16 months into the recovery and the contours of the post-pandemic economy have taken shape.

Why it matters: While the coronavirus continues to infect roughly 100,000 new Americans every day, it's no longer driving the course of the economy.

Leisure and hospitality continue to fuel job gains

A sign recruiting workers at a Perkins Restaurant last month. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Workers taking up gigs at bars, restaurants and hotels are a mainstay of the pandemic job market’s healing.

Why it matters: Since the industry shed the most workers when COVID-19 hit, it has the most room to recover.

Ina Fried, author of Login
18 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO sees making own chips as a matter of national security

Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is putting the pressure on the U.S. government to help subsidize chip manufacturing, insisting the current reliance on plants in Taiwan and Korea as "geopolitically unstable."

Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.