May 8, 2020 - Economy & Business

The month we fell off a 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.

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.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: Over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Nearly 354,000 Americans have recovered and over 15.1 million tests have been conducted. California became the fourth state with at least 100,000 reported cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, along with Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

Go deeper (2 min. read)ArrowUpdated 14 hours ago - Health

Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.