Sam Gringlas

The job market is starting to roar back, but for anxious college seniors like Bao Ha, it's a different reality altogether.

"I've probably applied to like 130 or 40 jobs or something," Ha says. "I have not gotten even an email back, or an interview."

Ha is graduating soon from Macalaster College in Minnesota, and between his anthropology thesis and trying to check items off his senior year bucket list, he has spent hours crafting cover letters and scouring job postings.

And now, self-doubt has started to trickle in.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Jillian Melton and Paul Sklar work at two restaurants hundreds of miles apart. And when it comes to the $15 minimum wage debate, their differences in views could almost be as vast.

The push by Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage would also eliminate a decades-long practice of paying restaurant servers as little as $2.13 an hour under the expectation they would earn far more through tips.

Janitor Gloria Espinoza still vividly remembers the moment she was laid off last year.

A supervisor gathered her and her colleagues at a parking lot of the office where she worked in San Francisco and then broke the news.

"I thought, 'God, why us?'," Espinoza said. "It was like receiving a bucket of cold water."

Months later, Espinoza is still unemployed and part of a worrying economic statistic: While the labor market is showing signs of recovery, millions who lost jobs at the beginning of the pandemic a year ago are still out of the labor force.

President Biden's push for a $15 federal minimum wage appears to be on hold for now.

As part of a marathon session of voting on amendments to Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, the Senate late Thursday approved by voice vote a measure prohibiting an increase of the federal minimum wage during the global pandemic.

Across the U.S., the first snowflakes have fallen, temperatures are dipping and the days of pandemic-friendly park hangouts and outdoor dining feel like they're fading along with the daylight hours.

But with the right mindset and know-how, outdoor socializing can keep going all year long.

"I live by myself, so I'm constantly thinking about how to meet up with my friends and family without putting them or myself in danger," says Linda Poon, a journalist in Washington, D.C. "And I'm someone who hates the cold."

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

Shortly after The Associated Press and multiple networks called the presidential election for former Vice President Joe Biden, President Trump released a statement claiming the election was "far from over," falsely accusing President-elect Biden of attempting to undermine the electoral process and vowing to take the election to the courts.

Three days after Election Day, Democratic nominee Joe Biden took narrow leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia, according to The Associated Press, putting him on the cusp of a victory in the Electoral College.

Early Friday, Biden took a 5,500-vote lead in the Keystone State, after trailing President Trump there for days. He also took a narrow lead in Georgia, giving the Democratic nominee the lead in a state that hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since Bill Clinton was on the ticket in 1992.

Joe Biden has won the state of Michigan, according to The Associated Press. With the call, the Democratic nominee adds 16 electoral votes to his column and makes his second inroad at rebuilding the "blue wall" around the Great Lakes. Wisconsin was called for Biden earlier Wednesday.

The win gives Biden 264 electoral votes. If the AP calls any remaining state for Biden, he would reach 270 electoral votes, and by the AP's count, he would be president-elect.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

The United States woke up the morning after Election Day not knowing who will be president for the next four years. It's not unprecedented, and with a slew of mail-in ballots to process, several key states are working to finish counting.

It was after midnight when Donald Trump took the stage in Grand Rapids, Mich., for his last rally of the 2016 presidential campaign. A late-night event scheduled for the last day of campaigning had creeped into the wee hours of Election Day.

"Michigan stands at the crossroads of history," Trump told supporters inside a downtown convention center. "If we win Michigan, we will win this historic election."

Update at 7:16 p.m. ET

While President Trump made a four-stop blitz in Pennsylvania, Democratic nominee Joe Biden reunited with his old running mate, former President Barack Obama, to turn out votes in pivotal Michigan.

And as Vice President Pence took the stage at two rallies in North Carolina, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, California Sen. Kamala Harris, hustled between events in South Florida.

For months now, election officials have cautioned that the winner of the presidential election may still be unknown when election night is over.

Rules in some states don't allow election workers to begin the labor-intensive work of processing mail-in ballots until Election Day. And with a record number of voters casting their ballots by mail, the influx could delay final tallies for days.

Updated on Friday at 12:28 p.m. ET

Election officials in many states say it is now too late for voters to return absentee ballots by mail and are encouraging them instead to deliver their ballots by hand or vote in person.

With a week until voting concludes this election season, the presidential candidates are making their final pitch to voters on the campaign trail — and on the airwaves.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

A few dozen cars at a drive-in rally in suburban Pennsylvania honked in unison as Democratic nominee Joe Biden blasted President Trump's handling of the coronavirus. In North Carolina, Trump told a packed crowd: "COVID, COVID, COVID. By the way, on Nov. 4, you won't hear about it anymore."

Before embarking on a packed day of campaign rallies, President Trump stopped at a library in Florida's Palm Beach County on Saturday to cast his ballot.

"I voted for a guy named Trump," he told reporters.

While the president has voted by mail in the past, in recent months, he has decried the integrity of voting by mail, falsely asserting that it results in rampant fraud.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

In front of television cameras on Friday, President Trump chatted with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over speaker phone, lauding a new agreement between Israel and Sudan to normalize relations. Two hours later in Wilmington, Del., Democratic nominee Joe Biden outlined his plans to combat the coronavirus pandemic, a graphic of the country's spiking daily case counts flanking the stage.

Roughly 50 million Americans have already voted early so far this election, and on Friday, Vice President Pence joined their ranks.

The vice president voted early in Indianapolis alongside his wife, Karen Pence, both receiving the hallmark "I Voted" sticker.

Updated on Wed., Oct. 28 at 11:40 a.m. to reflect the most recent rules for processing and counting ballots, per information from each state elections office gathered by NPR.

A record number of voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail this year, and in most states, election officials can begin processing that deluge of ballots in the weeks before Election Day.

Pages