Ayesha Rascoe

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The U.S. economy added more than 900,000 jobs last month. For most White House officials, that would be considered a banner number. For Janelle Jones, the top economist at the Labor Department, there is much more work for the Biden administration to do.

Jones, the first Black woman to ever hold her position, says it would take a year of similar jobs reports just to get back to where the economy was before the pandemic. But even then, she says, getting back to the status quo is not enough.

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The pandemic worsened economic equality. So what does the Biden administration plan to do about it? NPR's Ayesha Rascoe talked with Janelle Jones, the chief economist at the Labor Department and the first Black woman to hold that job.

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North Korea tested short-range missile systems over the weekend, but the Biden administration is keeping its door open to talks, a diplomatic effort that officials said won't be easy.

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Updated at 8:38 p.m. ET

President Biden said on Wednesday that states like Texas and Mississippi are making a big mistake by ending mandates to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a time when the nation is making a push to boost vaccinations.

"The last thing — the last thing — we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask. Forget it. It still matters," Biden told reporters as he met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Oval Office.

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Former President Donald Trump speaks today at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida. As Trump's grip tightens on the GOP, President Joe Biden continues to address U.S. border policy.

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