Workers at the Jayco factory in Elkhart, Ind., assemble an RV. Photo: Mira Oberman/AFP via Getty Images

Four counties whose economies have historically foreshadowed economic downturns nationwide are signaling a dip but aren't showing signs of tanking, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Robertson County, Tenn.; Pontotoc County, Miss.; Boone County, Ill.; and Elkhart County, Ind., "are so exposed to the whims of the wider economy that they sneeze long before the rest of the country realizes it has caught a cold," the Post writes.

How it works: Each county relies on manufacturing costly consumer goods like appliances and furniture, which tend to fare badly when the economy stumbles, according to the Post.

  • They also rely on a small group of large employers that have multiple services and suppliers.
  • “[S]o if you idle or slow down one factory’s orders, it hits everything from the gas and electric companies, to the soda-machine stockers, to the folks who cater meals or clean the place," Ball State University economist Michael Hicks told the Post.

What's happening: "Our most recent numbers, from early this year, show them bending south but not cratering" the Post writes. "[I]t’s too early to tell if the counties are preparing to slip ahead of a downturn, or if any hint of weakness is just a temporary hiccup."

  • Robertson County's workforce hit its peak in 2017 and showed a decline in 2018, according to the Post. It has seen job losses in manufacturing counterbalanced by seasonal hiring at warehouses.
  • Pontotoc has worked to diversify its economy in recent years, per the Post.
  • Boone has seen a stimulus with the recent arrival of major auto suppliers, the Post writes, but anxiety about trade has stymied growth.
  • Elkhart, which produces most of the country's motor homes and travel trailers, has seen a 20% drop in sales of those items, according to the Post.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
10 mins ago - Economy & Business

Investors have nowhere to hide

Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The massive losses in oil prices and U.S. and European equities were not countered by gains in traditional safe-haven assets on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The unusual movement in typical hedging tools like bonds, precious metals and currencies means they are not providing investors an asset that will appreciate in the event of a major equity selloff.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
15 mins ago - Sports

A look inside sports owners' political donations

Data: ESPN/FiveThirtyEight; Chart: Axios Visuals

Sports team owners in the four largest North American leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) have donated over $46 million in federal elections since 2015, according to research conducted by ESPN and FiveThirtyEight.

By the numbers: Over the past three elections, $35.7 million of that money (77.4%) has gone to Republican campaigns and super PACs, compared to $10.4 million (22.6%) to Democrats.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022
  2. Politics: Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
  4. Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.