May 3, 2017

The government's VR challenge, in one Darrell Issa quote

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

What policy challenges are posed by the rise of virtual reality? Republican Rep. Darrell Issa offered one answer at a Wednesday event in honor of the launch of a congressional caucus devoted to VR and its ilk:

"So, why do we need this caucus? Because we're going to start asking the question of, 'Can somebody get their pilot's license with 75, 80, 90 percent of the time being a virtual reality?' Can we in fact create better doctors with a lot less time over a human being and a lot more time … [using] a simulator as we would call it today? Government's going to have to be creative in understanding that."

There's more: Panelists at the event highlighted issues as wide ranging as privacy and how to regulate commerce in virtual worlds.

Why it matters: Virtual and augmented reality has drawn billions of investment dollars in recent years.

Go deeper

HBCUs are missing from the discussion on venture capital's diversity

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.