The Graphic Truth: US jobless claims stay sky high

The Graphic Truth: US jobless claims stay sky high

Even as talk of reopening parts of the US economy dominates the news, much of the country remains shuttered because of coronavirus-related lockdowns. While COVID-related unemployment claims seem to have peaked, the number of people filing initial unemployment claims in the US last week was still high, reaching 3.8 million. That brings the total number of claims over the past six weeks to over 30 million, equal to about 1 out of every 5 US workers. The surge in unemployment claims is boosting the overall unemployment rate (which tells you the percent of work-ready people who are looking for a job). The current official rate is now 4.4%, but that records data only up to mid-March. Some economists now warn that when the more recent jobless claims are taken into account, the national unemployment rate could exceed 20 percent in the near term. Here's a look at the historical context.

Over the next decade, Walmart's $350 billion investment in U.S. manufacturing has the potential to:

  • Support more than 750,000 new American jobs.
  • Avoid more than 100M metric tons of CO2 emissions by working with suppliers to shift to U.S. manufacturing.
  • Advance the growth of U.S.-based suppliers.
  • Provide opportunities for more than 9,000 entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers and sellers through Walmart's annual Open Call.

A few days ago, cyber criminals hacked into one of the largest oil pipelines in the US, which halted operations after its corporate IT network was knocked offline. If the engineers don't fix the system on their own or the owners cough up the ransom that the hackers are demanding, millions of Americans will soon feel the heat of cybercrime in their daily lives: with higher prices at the gas pump.

Who pulled off this attack, and what does it tell us about the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and the rules (or lack thereof) in cyber conflict today?

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Violence in Jerusalem: Things escalated very quickly on Monday in Jerusalem. For weeks, violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians over tensions surrounding access to the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as an anticipated verdict in the eviction of several Palestinian families from East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, spread throughout the city. While Israeli police used heavy force (stun grenades, skunk water, rubber bullets) to crack down on Palestinians throwing rocks and launching fireworks, the Hamas militant group in the Gaza Strip used the clashes as a pretext to launch a barrage of rockets into Israel. Hamas usually restricts its reach to southern Israel, but this time it launched dozens of rockets into Jerusalem, causing a mass evacuation of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. Israel responded swiftly by bombing the Gaza Strip, resulting in at least 20 Palestinian deaths, including nine children. Egypt, Qatar, and the UN are reportedly trying to broker some sort of truce between Israel and Hamas. But for now, both sides appear to be preparing for a massive escalation, raising fears of an outright war.

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The US federal government is gearing up to spend a lot of money these days. So far, to cushion the blow of the pandemic, Washington has already parted with $5 trillion in the form of direct payments to households, forgivable loans to businesses, and other support including aid to state governments. And more is coming.

President Joe Biden has proposed another $4 trillion in federal funds for physical and "human" infrastructure, some of which would create income support and social spending programs that would last well beyond the pandemic.

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There's never a great time to impose higher taxes on funeral services — but doing it in the middle of a raging pandemic is an especially bad move. Yet that was one of a number of measures that the Colombian government proposed last week in a controversial new tax bill that has provoked the country's largest and most violent protests in decades.

In the days since, the finance minister has resigned, the tax reform has been pulled, and President Iván Duque has called for fresh dialogue with activists, union leaders, and opposition politicians.

But demonstrations, vandalism, and deadly clashes with police have only intensified. Two dozen people are dead, 40 are missing, and the UN has criticized Colombian police for their heavy-handed response.

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63: Multiple blasts outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, killed 63 people Sunday, most of whom were schoolgirls, and at least 150 were injured. The Taliban, which has vowed to wreak havoc because the US missed a May 1 deadline to fully withdraw from Afghanistan, have denied involvement in the attack.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Happy Monday to you. A Quick Take. I wanted to talk about this unprecedented hack that has shut down a major pipeline in the United States. The Colonial Pipeline carries well over 2 million barrels a day. It's about half of the East Coast supply of gas and jet fuel. In other words, really not something you want to have suspended. And when I think about the impact of cyberattacks in the world, I mean, we've been warning that this is going to be a bigger challenge going forward, we're now really starting to see the implications of it.

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An Indian-American family in California decided to take action after acquaintances, friends, relatives and finally their own parents in Delhi became sick from COVID as the city was overwhelmed by the outbreak. In just a few days, they organized a massive logistical and fundraising effort to send critical oxygen equipment to Delhi. "We came across oxygen concentrators as one of the major needs in Delhi, as oxygen supplies were low, and agencies, hospitals, and nursing facilities were running out of oxygen and putting out SOS messages." The couple explains how they have partnered with SaveLIFE Foundation, an organization out of Delhi working directly with the local government. "India needs all the help that it can at this point in time."

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