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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.

Health care ruling saves Republicans from themselves

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Supreme Court saved the health care system from imploding Thursday by dismissing a Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act. But it also saved the GOP itself from another round of intraparty chaos.

Why it matters: Most GOP lawmakers privately admit (and some will even say publicly) they don't want to deal with health care again. The issue generally isn't a good one for them with voters — as they learned the hard way after they failed to repeal the ACA in 2017.

8 hours ago - Economy & Business

Fed chief's second-term audition

Jerome Powell during a virtual news conference. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell faces a long, hot summer audition for a second term, with senators watching and weighing his response to potential signs of inflation.

Why it matters: The financial system's chief is one of the most powerful in the world. President Biden hasn’t given any public indication whether he’ll renominate Powell, but Democrats close to the administration say there's a chance he'll make an announcement by Labor Day — well before Powell’s term ends next February.