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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Job losses over the past month have likely been worse than even some of the more extreme economic estimates, and are expected to get worse.

Driving the news: Led by small businesses, U.S. companies cut payrolls by 27,000 in early March, ADP's latest private payrolls report showed Wednesday, in a surge of cuts that predated many municipalities' mandated business closures.

Zoom in: The ADP headline number significantly underplays the level of carnage in labor markets, as service-related industries saw losses of just 18,000 during the month.

  • Most of the decline came from sectors not associated with restaurants or leisure and hospitality, with the biggest losses coming from trade, transportation and utilities (-37,000), followed by construction (-16,000) and administrative and support services (-12,000).
  • Small businesses saw 90,000 job losses during the period ending March 12, and 66,000 of those came from companies that employ 25 people or less. 

What they're saying: Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, notes that just 6% of companies indicated they are hiring, a level worse than during the financial crisis and comparable to about 40% during a typical month.

  • He expects total job losses will total 10 million to 15 million, a number that is beginning to look positively quaint by comparison.

Goldman Sachs predicts unemployment will peak at around 15%, with a little more than 20 million unemployed.

  • Economists at the St. Louis Fed project about 47 million people will lose their jobs, which would translate to a 32.1% unemployment rate.

Go deeper: An unsettling future for millions of American jobs

Go deeper

Cyber war scales up with new Microsoft hack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last week's revelation of a new cyberattack on thousands of small businesses and organizations, on top of last year's SolarWinds hack, shows we've entered a new era of mass-scale cyber war.

Why it matters: In a world that's dependent on interlocking digital systems, there's no escaping today's cyber conflicts. We're all potential victims even if we're not participants.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
27 mins ago - Science

Spaceflight contests and our future in orbit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wealthy private citizens are increasingly becoming the arbiters of who can go to space — and some of them want to bring the average person along for the ride.

Why it matters: Space is being opened up to people who wouldn't have had the prospect of flying there even five years ago, but these types of missions have far-reaching implications for who determines who gets to make use of space and for what.

1 hour ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: America looks for the exits after a year of COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A year after the coronavirus abruptly shut down much of the country, Americans are watching for a clear signal of when the pandemic will be over — and most won't be ready to ditch the masks and social distancing until they get it, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: The poll found that more Americans are expecting the outbreak to be over sooner rather than later, as vaccinations ramp up throughout the country — but that very few are ready to end the precautions that have upended their lives.

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