Apr 3, 2020 - Economy & Business

U.S. sheds 701,000 jobs in March

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shed 701,000 jobs in March, ending a decade-long stretch of job gains, according to government data gathered before many states instituted economy-shutting measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: It's a way bigger job loss than economists expected the report to pick up — and it still understates the unprecedented turmoil that the job market is currently facing.

  • The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% from 3.5% — the biggest monthly increase since January 1975.

Between the lines: The economic situation has changed so drastically in recent weeks that what's typically one of the most significant economic reports is too stale to say anything new about the economy.

  • Economists estimate the unemployment rate is currently far higher, given the nearly 10 million Americans that have filed jobless claims in recent weeks.

A staggering stat: Job losses in the leisure and hospitality sector — a category that includes restaurants and bars — alone accounted for 65% of the job declines last month.

The bottom line: "We already know that the fall in employment is apocalyptic. The survey data will eventually catch up to that reality," Diane Swonk, economist at Grant Thornton, wrote this week.

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Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day, prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Even with early curfews in New York City and Washington, D.C., protesters are still out en masse. Large crowds took a knee at Arizona's state capitol nearly an hour before the statewide 8 p.m. curfew, and a peaceful march dispersed in Chicago ahead of the city's 9 p.m. curfew.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

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Trump says RNC is looking outside of North Carolina for convention site

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in 2018. Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday night that because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions in North Carolina, the Republican Party will be "forced to seek another state" to host its convention in August.

The big picture: The late-night tweet came after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) told convention organizers earlier Tuesday that Republicans should plan for a "scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings" given the impact of the pandemic.