Jacob Ford / Odessa American via AP

The Permian Basin still matters:

Simon Lack of SL Advisors points out that even as Persian-Gulf OPEC states tried to chase American shale producers from the market following the oil-price crash of 2014, exploitation of the Permian Basin in West Texas remained a profitable, and the location is home to nearly half of the active rigs in America today.

The resilience of the Permian Basin speaks to the future economic power of Texas and its continued importance to the American energy, especially as rig counts in North Dakota and elsewhere have collapsed.

The Fed's public relations problem:

For years now, the Federal Reserve has seen no conflict between its goals of keeping inflation low and employment high. But as inflation rates rises above its 2% annual inflation target, Janet Yellen and company will have to start raising interest rates more quickly.

Why it matters: Donald Trump's inauguration address suggested that despite a low unemployment rate, the American public isn't satisfied. But as Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics writes in a research note, the Fed pays closer attention econometrics than it does public opinion.

Shepherdson argues that the Fed can't force companies to focus on hiring folks who have left the workforce since 2008, which means that we could see much higher inflation before we see the labor market heal to the Trump White House's standards.

What we're watching:

McDonald's reports earnings Monday morning, and the results could provide a window into the health of the American economy.

Analysts don't expect the firm to maintain the growth that was spurred by the introduction of all day breakfast last year, and that slowdown could be exacerbated by the rising cost of labor.

Why it matters: Fast food companies like McDonald's will be the first to feel the sting of higher wage inflation, and how the firms react to a shorter supply of workers—whether it's through higher prices, investing in training, or investing in automation—will foreshadow the reaction of the rest of the economy.

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Updated 24 mins ago - World

China says U.S. is "endangering peace" with high-level visit to Taiwan

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a June briefing in Washington, DC. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday night he will lead a delegation to Taiwan "in the coming days."

Why it matters: It's the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979. Azar is also the first U.S. Cabinet member to visit the island state in six years. The visit has angered China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory. Chinese officials accused the U.S. early Wednesday of "endangering peace" with the visit, AFP reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 18,543,662 — Total deaths: 700,714 — Total recoveries — 11,143,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 4,771,236 — Total deaths: 156,807 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — Local governments go to war over schools.
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll.
  5. Politics: Trump's national security adviser returns to work after coronavirus recovery Republicans push to expand small business loan program.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.
Updated 2 hours ago - World

At least 100 killed, 4,000 injured after massive explosion rocks Beirut

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, damaging buildings as far as several miles away and injuring scores of people.

Driving the news: At least 100 people have been killed and over 4,000 injured in the blast — and the death toll is likely to rise, the Lebanese Red Cross said, per AP. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosions occurred at a warehouse that had been storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for the past six years.