Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via St. Louis Fed; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Sentence from a nightmare: 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, a decline from the previous week's 6.9 million.

The big picture: Over the past three weeks, 1 in 10 working-age adults filed for unemployment, Axios' Courtenay Brown notes.

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics via St. Louis Fed; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Why it matters: We're not even close to understanding the long-term ramifications of America rocketing from sub-4% unemployment to what could be Depression levels in about a month.

  • This is just the first wave, since we don't know how many businesses will fail while waiting on reopening or bailouts.
  • Once the lockdowns end, we don't know how businesses will behave in a world where the next lockdown is just a new outbreak away.

But we do know:

  • More pain is on the way, and it will be felt with savage inequity.
  • We mustn't become numb to the scale of these numbers.
  • We each must play our role: If you're not an essential worker, that means staying home and avoiding group gatherings.

The bottom line: Now is the time to behave in ways that you can recount with pride for future generations.

  • What's next: President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy, driven in part by the overwhelming number of Americans who have filed for unemployment since the start of the pandemic, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

Go deeper

Virtual school is another setback for struggling retail industry

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A virtual school year will likely push retailers even closer to the brink.

Why it matters: Back-to-school season is the second-biggest revenue generating period for the retail sector, after the holidays. But retailers say typical shopping sprees will be smaller with students learning at home — another setback for their industry, which has seen a slew of store closures and bankruptcy filings since the pandemic hit.

57 mins ago - Health

The pandemic hasn't hampered the health care industry

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The economy has been tanking. Coronavirus infections and deaths have been rising. And the health care industry is as rich as ever.

The big picture: Second-quarter results are still pouring in, but so far, a vast majority of health care companies are reporting profits that many people assumed would not have been possible as the pandemic raged on.

Column / Harder Line

How climate and business woes are sinking a natural-gas project

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Trump administration recently touted its approval of America’s first terminal on the West Coast to export liquefied natural gas. There’s just one problem: it probably won’t be built.

Why it matters: The project in southern Oregon faces political and business hurdles serious enough that those who are following it say it will be shelved. Its problems embody the struggles facing a once-promising sector that's now struggling under the weight of the pandemic and more.