Axios PM

An analog clock with only two symbols instead of twelve: the symbols read 'AM' and 'PM'.

July 02, 2020

Good afternoon and happy 4th-Eve.

  • Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 423 words, a 2-minute read.

🚨 Situational awareness: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is mandating masks in public spaces. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Stimulus outlook takes hit

The pandemic is getting way worse, and now the big question is whether the economic recovery will join it.

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

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 beginning to return 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 emails.
  • 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 struggle to recover economically until it manages to beat back the public health threat.

  • That's clearly not happening. The official overseeing the nation's coronavirus testing efforts told Congress today 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.

2. Pic du jour

Photo: Tom Brenner/Reuters

President Trump swings a wooden baseball bat today as he attends a "Spirit of America Showcase" event in the Cross Hall of the White House.

2. Catch up quick

  1. A flu virus found in pigs in China has pandemic potential and should be "urgently" monitored, researchers are warning. Go deeper.
  2. The U.S. government urged a judge to deny bail to Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, calling her an "extreme flight risk" who has no reason not to attempt to flee the country. Go deeper.
  3. Nine more NBA players tested positive for the coronavirus after league-wide testing of 344 players from June 24 to 29. Go deeper.
  4. Florida again broke the single-day record for new coronavirus cases with 10,109. Go deeper.
  5. Herman Cain, 74, has been hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus less than two weeks after attending Trump's rally in Oklahoma. Go deeper.

3. 1 hot trend

Working in the mountains of Lesotho, Africa. Photo: Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Hot summer trend: Work from home is quickly becoming work outdoors, and that requires a few gear upgrades, Bloomberg notes.

Among Bloomberg's suggestions:

  • Wi-Fi range extender
  • Bluetooth speaker or headphones
  • Power bank
  • Lap desk
  • Portable fan
  • Tent (yes, a tent) for shade

The bottom line: Being outside can be good for the soul — but if you want to spend a lengthy amount of time outside, beware exposing your laptop to lots of direct sunlight.