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With an escalation in President Trump's trade war possible as early as Thursday, retaliatory tariffs threaten U.S. companies employing some 11 million workers, according to an Axios analysis.

Why it matters: Industries affected by the brinksmanship are mostly concentrated in rural, deeply red, already-struggling parts of the country, with political consequences for Trump and Republicans in 2018 and beyond.

Explanation of the map: The map tracks the geographical impact of both current and threatened retaliation. The darker a county, the higher the concentration of affected industries there.

Driving the news: On Thursday, a public comment period ends on Trump's threat to quadruple tariffs on China, slapping them on $200 billion in Chinese goods, up from $50 billion in force today. If Trump proceeds this week or later, as experts expect him to, China has said it will retaliate with tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. exports.

That's on top of 25% and 10% tariffs enacted, respectively, on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, China, Mexico and the European Union, and by those countries against the U.S.

Employment in rural and low-population counties can be exceptionally vulnerable to gyrations in the global economy, said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "In a small county, a single meat packing establishment can provide hundreds of jobs and make up a large share of that county's total employment," he told Axios. A prior report by Muro and others at Brookings inspired this analysis.

Against these impacts, the Trump administration has provided a $4.7 billion bailout to soybean farmers, hit with retaliatory tariffs by China, their biggest customer. Republicans have criticized the compensation.

Methodology: We calculated the concentration of industries in each county compared with the national average. To get there, we gathered lists of goods facing tariffs from Canada, China, Mexico, and the European Union. The data is from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Quarterly Census of Employment Wages.

Go deeper

Go deeper

Oct 6, 2020 - World

China tops list of countries exporting products made with forced labor

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new report from the U.S. Department of Labor ranks China as the top country of origin for goods produced through forced labor.

The big picture: China has long utilized prison labor, but new coerced labor schemes targeting Uighurs and other ethnic minorities now taint numerous industries in China.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Updated 31 mins ago - Science

NASA's delays Mars helicopter test flight

Ingenuity (left) with Perseverance on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA announced Saturday it rescheduled its Ingenuity Mars helicopter's first experimental flight, originally planned for Sunday.

The latest: "During a high-speed spin test of the rotors on Friday, the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a 'watchdog' timer expiration," NASA said in a statement. "This occurred as it was trying to transition the flight computer from ‘Pre-Flight’ to ‘Flight’ mode."

Scoop: Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel escorted out of RNC retreat

Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel. Photo: Chris Maddaloni / Getty Images

During this weekend’s highly anticipated donor retreat hosted by the Republican National Committee in Palm Beach, Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel was escorted off the premises while his primary opponent, Jane Timken, was allowed to stay, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell Axios.

What we’re hearing: The invitation-only event is taking place at the Four Seasons Resort, and the RNC reserved the entire hotel. While Timken, former Ohio GOP chair, was invited to the event “because she is a major donor” — Mandel was not, so he was asked to leave, according to one of the sources.