May 8, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 477 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: The month we fell off the cliff
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

America's unemployment rate is now at its highest since the Great Depression, and it's likely a major underestimate.

The big picture: More than 30 million have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus lockdowns started — the government said there were 20.5 million net jobs lost in April alone — but the fallout has been far from equal, Axios’ Courtenay Brown reports.

Women made up a bigger share of April's job losses (55%) than men.

  • "That's a complete reversal from recent recessions; usually men bear the brunt of job losses at first and female payroll share rises," Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at Evercore ISI, points out.

America's less educated workers, who were just beginning to reap the benefits of the flourishing labor market — as we've reported in the past — are losing work at about four times the rate of those with college degrees, per the Washington Post.

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Black and Hispanic/Latino workers "finally started to see significant wage gains [over the past two years] — and those are going to get wiped out," Christopher Hayes, a professor at Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, tells Axios.

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Between the lines: Nearly 4 in 5 people who lost work said their job loss was temporary, which shores up hope that businesses might be quick to hire these workers back once the economy reopens. That's if hirers need as many hands-on-deck as they did before the pandemic.

  • But economists worry the recovery will be just as uneven as in past recessions, with the most vulnerable groups still on the sidelines while others recoup work.
Bonus: Pics du jour
Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Above: WWII veteran Bernard Morgan, 96, posed as he took part in a two-minute silence today to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe.

  • RAF Sergeant Bernard Morgan was a 20-year-old code and cipher operator. He received and printed out the first official telex message declaring the end of hostilities: "THE GERMAN WAR IS NOW OVER." He still has it.

Below: German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a ceremony at the Neue Wache Memorial.

Photo: Filip Singer - Pool/Getty Images

More VE Day pictures

2. Catch up quick
  1. Business: Demand for autonomous vehicles could be larger than expected due to the pandemic.
  2. Trump administration: Air Force Two delayed after Mike Pence's press secretary tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. Public health: Minorities and low-income people are more likely to become seriously ill if infected — The debate over infecting volunteers to test vaccines.
  4. 🎧 Podcast: U.S. Postal Service in crisis.
3. 1 helpful thing

Tony Vaccaro in 2016 at a special screening of the HBO documentary film "UNDERFIRE: The Untold Story of PFC Tony Vaccaro." Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for HBO

Tony Vaccaro survived the Battle of Normandy and photographed the "Kiss of Liberation," which showed a U.S. sergeant giving a kiss to a French girl at the end of the Nazi occupation.

  • Now he can add another accomplishment: Beating coronavirus at the age of 97, AP reports.

The celebrated wartime and celebrity photographer attributes his longevity to “blind luck, red wine” and determination.

  • “To me, the greatest thing that you can do is challenge the world,” Vaccaro said. “And most of these challenges I win. That’s what keeps me going.”

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