Germany exported €252.9 billion more than it imported in 2016, making it the largest German trade surplus in history.

Why it matters: In a world where demand for goods and services, and the jobs that result, are at a premium, countries that produce more than they consume are coming under fire.

While German officials have argued that it's German productivity that is to be credited with the surplus, and not malicious policy, Germany's critics are growing in number and power. Last week, Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro blamed the German surplus on an "undervalued" euro, while critics outside the administration have placed guilt on labor and safety-net policies that suppress wage growth and German consumption.

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Stimulus outlook takes a hit even as coronavirus cases skyrocket

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic is getting worse, and the question is whether the economic recovery will go with it.

Why it matters: America adding 7.5 million jobs over the last two months pales in comparison to 20+ million lost over the two months prior.

2 hours ago - Health

Texas governor mandates face masks in public spaces

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Thursday requiring all Texans to wear a face covering in public in counties with 20 or more positive coronavirus cases.

Why it matters: It's a dramatic reversal by the Republican governor that underscores the severity of the outbreak in Texas, which set a single-day record on Wednesday with more than 8,000 confirmed new cases. On June 3, Abbott issued an executive order banning local governments from imposing fines on people who don't wear masks in public.

2 hours ago - Health

Top business leaders urge White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines

A man walks past a Ramen restaurant in Los Angeles, California on July 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Retail Federation and other top business organizations wrote an open letter on Thursday urging the White House coronavirus task force to work with governors to make face coverings mandatory in all public spaces.

Driving the news: An analysis led by Goldman Sachs' chief economist found that a national mandate requiring face coverings would "could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the Washington Post reports.