Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Amazon has pulled off one of the most successful public relations coups in memory, creating more than a year of wild public suspense and — among cities — deep longing to host its next headquarters.

But now comes the hard part: finding 50,000 engineers, computer scientists and other skilled workers to staff complexes in two of the largest cities in the U.S. amid the tightest job market in five decades.

  • There are already more than 1 million unfilled jobs in the U.S., according to figures for September, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 34,000 of them were in the Information industry, which includes tech jobs.
  • Earlier this month, the WSJ reported that China's Foxxcon, the supplier for Apple, is considering shipping in engineers from China because of the difficulty finding talent in the U.S.

The bottom line: In its announcement today, Amazon said that attracting tech talent was a primary reason for selecting Long Island City and northern Virginia. But very few tech grads or workers anywhere in the country appear to be begging for work. "If your background is data analysis, you are going to get a job right out of school, and you're probably going to do something better than Amazon," Joel Kotkin, a professor at Chapman University, tells Axios.

  • This lack of idle talent stretches across the industry, including into management. I asked Tim Derdenger, a professor at Carnegie-Mellon's Tepper School of Business, whether many of the school's graduates are hard-pressed to find work. "Probably not," he said.
  • Among last year's graduates, a third were hired by the tech industry — led by Amazon, according to Stephen Rakas, who runs it's career center.

The critical U.S. shortage of skilled workers appears to be the leading driver for Amazon's decision, said Michael Farren, a fellow at the Mercatus Center, a think tank at George Mason University. Ultimately, it spurned larger, more lavish subsidies lathered on by other cities.

  • Farren tells Axios that, for secondary U.S. cities to compete for jobs, they should invest in infrastructure with broad advantage, rather than aimed at a specific company — like strong education. (In a new report, Farren and co-author Anne Philpot argue that most such subsidies are money thrown away.)

In fact, a principal part of Virginia's bid was a promise to invest $1 billion in pumping out thousands of added engineering and tech graduates.

  • The money will go to build a new Innovation Campus at Virginia Tech. The campus will produce 750 engineering master's degree graduates a year, plus 125 Ph.Ds. Virginia Tech will also graduate an additional 2,000 engineering undergrads.

Yes, but: Even absent Amazon, there is sufficient jobs demand to absorb all the added Virginia Tech engineering grads, said Tim Sands, president of Virginia Tech.

  • Sands tells Axios that the school already had expansion plans, which were accelerated to win the competition for Amazon.

What's next: Amazon will scour the schools and attempt to poach from other companies. But, in addition, Kurt Heikkinen, CEO of Montage, a tech recruitment firm, said that the company will have to be flexible as to the credentials of candidates.

  • It will have to ignore whether a candidate has a specific college degree or a certain number of years of experience, and instead focus on aptitude — whether the person either can already do the job, or can be trained to do it.
  • "I also suspect that not 100% of the hires will be located" in the headquarters, he said. Amazon, he said, will probably permit some of the more specialized hires to work virtually from wherever they live.

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President Trump's suburbs

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call.

President Trump cast an outdated vision of "the 'suburban housewife'" as he swiped this week at Joe Biden's newly minted running mate Kamala Harris — building on his months-long play to drive a wedge through battleground-state suburbs by reframing white voters' expectations.

The big picture: As he struggles to find an attack that will stick against the Biden campaign, Trump for a while now has been stoking fears of lawless cities and an end to what he's called the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream.” It’s a playbook from the ‘70s and ‘80s — but the suburbs have changed a lot since then.

Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.