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AP

Amazon announced Thursday that it has opened a search for a second U.S. headquarters, where it will expand to 50,000 employees and invest $5 billion in construction and operations.

Why it matters: This announcement is a way for the company to show the benefits of its bigness: it has the means to spur major economic development in a state that needs it. Expect Amazon to look for potential headquarter cities in the Midwest and Rust Belt that have fallen on hard times.

Why now: Amazon is growing fast, which is starting to worry some policy makers about the disproportionate control the company increasingly has on a number of markets and what that means for mainstay retail operations in American communities (i.e. grocery stores). Meanwhile, many cities in the U.S. are struggling with the fall of mid-western manufacturing jobs and the concentration of high-paying tech jobs on the west coast.

Amazon's promise: Economic growth. The company estimates that its investments in Seattle between 2010 and 2016 brought $38 billion to the city's economy, and that every dollar spent by Amazon generated an additional $1.4 for the city's economy.

The race is on: Local and state governments are going to rush to file proposals to bring Amazon to their cities. That will surely include boasting about their communities' amenities, school systems, employee talent and, of course, lavish tax breaks.

What it's looking for:

  • Metro area with more than one million people
  • A stable business-friendly environment
  • Urban and suburban locations with potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
  • Communities that "think big and creatively" about real estate options

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.