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New government jobs numbers reiterate the extent of the pandemic’s economic damage. In the last six weeks, more than 30 million Americans have lost their jobs, including another 3.8 million filing for unemployment last week. Lawmakers are still debating how to provide financial assistance to states during the crisis, as federal social distancing guidelines expire. Yamiche Alcindor reports.
Economic wreckage from the pandemic is on painful display again tonight in the latest government data. There's also new talk about how and how much to help state and local governments.
White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage.
One in every six Americans is now jobless.
Last week, another 3.8 million filed for unemployment. That means, in the last six weeks, more than 30 million people lost their jobs. But at the White House, President Trump held out hope for better times to come.
President Donald Trumps:
I think next year is going to be a spectacular year in terms of growth, in terms of bringing our country back. I think we're going to have a really good year.
The president spoke at a sit-down meeting with Phil Murphy, New Jersey's Democratic governor. Murphy made his pitch for federal aid to help states cope. He said New Jersey alone could need $20 billion to $30 billion.
Governor Phil Murphy:
We don't see it as a bailout. We see this as a partnership, doing the right thing in what is the worst health care crisis in the history of our nation.
Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, all told, states could need $1 trillion in aid over the next few years.
The mounting economic losses are pressuring officials to lift restrictions on certain parts of the economy. And, today, federal social distancing guidelines expired. The Trump administration says those older rules are now incorporated into guidance for states on loosening their own safety measures.
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health urged states to be careful in rolling back restrictions.
There's no doubt, when you pull back, there will be cases. And what we need to do is make sure they have in place the capability of identifying, isolating and contact tracing individuals.
If they do that…
And do the states that are — yes.
… I feel cautiously optimistic.
Idaho Governor Brad Little announced his stay-at-home order will expire tomorrow. He will let places of worship and day care centers open, but will keep closed hair salons and other sites.
California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered beaches in Orange County to close, after people defied health restrictions last weekend.
Governor Gavin Newsom:
Specific issues on some of those beaches have raised alarm bells, people that are congregating there that weren't practicing physical distancing.
While, in Lansing, Michigan, protesters, some with weapons, crowded into the state capitol building, demanding an end to pandemic-related curbs.
Today, NASCAR also announced it will resume its season without fans starting May 17. NASCAR joins the Ultimate Fighting Championship as the first major sports organizations to announce specific return-to-play plans.
But the Little League World Series will not be played this year, for the first time since the organization began, because of the pandemic.
In the meantime, the White House today issued new guidance for nursing homes. The facilities have been hard-hit by COVID-19.
President Donald Trump:
We are working very hard with our seniors, and we're working very hard with our nursing homes.
According to analysis by the Associated Press, at nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the past two months, more than 11,000 people have died due to COVID-19.
Across Europe, some governments are also lifting restrictions, in the face of stark economic losses. In the first quarter of the year, the overall European economy shrank by 3.8 percent.
Hubertus Heil (through translator):
The entire global economy, and also our national economy in Germany, is confronted with the biggest economic slump in our history. We expect the worst recession in postwar history.
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in Russia surpassed 100,000, with the country's prime minister now among the infected.
In Africa, trucks lined up for miles in Kenya, waiting to enter Uganda, as the country issued new restrictions on drivers. One driver said he had been waiting for days for a health check.
George Murara (through translator):
It is taking too long. So slow. This is the third day since I got to the border. They should at least add more officers, so the testing can be done faster.
For "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.
The day's dismal economic numbers weighed down Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 288 points to close at 24345. The Nasdaq fell 25 points, and the S&P 500 slid 27.
For the month, the indexes gained 11 to 15 percent, thanks partly to rescue measures from Congress and from the Federal Reserve.
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Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour; the moderator of Washington Week, the weekly public affairs show on PBS; and a political contributor for NBC News and MSNBC. She often tells stories about the intersection of race and politics as well as fatal police encounters. She is currently covering the administration of President Joe Biden and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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