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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

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded

Police cars restrict access to Oxford High School following the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and eight others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Andre Dickens during a rally at Center Stage on November 28, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower on November 25, 2021 in Paris. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).