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Afternoon Edition: April 16, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Moriam Yarrow, 22, a senior at UIC studying Neuroscience, sits outside her home with some of her books for class last week.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

We might be two weeks away from May, but don’t pack up your winter boots just yet: Another round snow will move through the Chicago area tonight, possibly dumping up to three inches. This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 45 degrees, while the low will fall to around 33 degrees later tonight.

Top story

With economy in upheaval, graduating college seniors’ hopes for future dashed: ‘I’m losing a lot’

When college seniors started school last fall, opportunity seemed to be racing toward them due to a strong economy and record-low unemployment.

Yet in only a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has slammed a lead foot on the brakes.

Roughly one in 10 workers is out of work nationally, and 16.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last three weeks.

Under the best projections, this year’s graduates will face an economy struggling to rebound, a competitive job market, and at least for the foreseeable future if social distancing or stay-at-home orders continue into the summer, a lack of jobs that often bridge the gap from campus to career.

We’re making our vital coronavirus coverage free for all readers. See the latest news here.

Prior recessions have shown that a downturn is a hard time to leave college — and graduates can see a loss in earnings throughout their careers, said Jonathan Dingel, an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School.

“Just getting your first step on that job ladder is more difficult when we’re in tough economic times, so unfortunately people that are just entering the labor force right now [are] going to find it to be quite difficult,” according to Dingel.

We talked to nearly a dozen students who said they have lost internship opportunities they hoped would lead to a full-time position, are considering delaying post-graduate education and are struggling to find work.

But the most daunting concern, they say, is the uncertainty — no one knows what to expect next.

Read the full story by Matthew Hendrickson, which includes interviews with the college seniors we spoke to.

More news you need

  1. Illinois health officials today said 125 more people have died from the coronavirus, marking the highest number of deaths announced in a single day as the statewide death toll eclipsed 1,000 lives lost. The grim daily death toll is a reminder the state might not have reached its peak.
  2. R. Kelly is again asking a judge to let him out of Chicago’s federal jail, where the coronavirus now appears to be spreading. The singer’s latest bid comes a little more than a week after a judge in New York said he had to stay put.
  3. Community leaders are blaming Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a “corrupt” permitting system that “perpetuates environmental racism” for the disastrous demolition of the smoke stack in Little Village. Here’s what they want City Hall to do.
  4. Roughly 22 million have sought jobless benefits in the past month — easily the worst stretch of U.S. job losses on record. In Illinois, 634,625 have filed new claims for benefits in the past four weeks.
  5. Chicago’s halt on ticketing, booting and towing illegally parked vehicles — except for public safety reasons — has been extended until June 1. The new deadline also applies to a host of business taxes.
  6. Chicago officials are planning to hand out thousands of free mobile internet hotspot devices to the city’s public school students who are experiencing homelessness. The city has secured 12,000 devices that provide high-speed internet.

A bright one

“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah loves Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s PSAs. In fact, he said he initially thought they were too funny to be real.

The comedian gave Lightfoot the compliment during her appearance on the Comedy Central show last night.

“Some of the PSAs that you started releasing were some of the funniest, that I didn’t even think were real until I realized they actually came from you,” said Noah via video call.

His favorite part? “Telling all the kids that are still going out to play basketball: ‘Your jump shot is not gonna improve, stay home,’” he told the mayor with a smile.

Lightfoot said her PSAs were inspired by the viral memes that popped up after she closed down the lakefront, and by her constituents’ need for entertainment at a time when there are no sports to watch or concerts to go to.

“Giving people hope, and using humor, it’s a great way to break through the noise and reach people,” she said.

Read the full recap from the show.

From the press box

One week ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, our experts continue to break down which positions the Bears need to focus on with their picks. Cornerback, for example, is a significant need for the team following the departure of starter Prince Amukamara.

Running back, however, ranks low on the list of priorities after the team drafted David Montgomery in the third round last year. It’s hard to see the team picking someone who would need to beat out Montgomery and Tarik Cohen for playing time.

Your daily question ☕

It’s #ThankfulThursday, so we want to know: What are you thankful for today?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you how your pets are doing during the stay-at-home order. Here’s what some of you said…

“My cat Cornell is banned from our home office as he likes to meow during work calls. I think he’s quite confused at our constant all-day presence, and wondering why we are not petting him ALL. DAY. LONG.” Jameera Jackson

“All I have are dust bunnies and they are thriving!” — Phillis Jones

“My fur baby is crashing my Zoom meetings, is bossy, tries to steal my lunch and has been demanding! But I love it!” — Michelle Marie Alvarez

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