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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The first half of the year has been weaker than expected for the global economy, and the main cause is a significant slowdown in manufacturing and trade.

What's happening: The IMF wrote down its global growth expectations for the third time this year, pointing squarely to the U.S.-China trade war that has thrown a wet blanket on cross-border trade and investment, sending manufacturing into a recession in the U.S. and in an increasing number of countries around the globe.

  • "Risks to the forecast are mainly to the downside," IMF economists said in their latest World Economic Outlook, released Tuesday. "They include further trade and technology tensions that dent sentiment and slow investment."
  • Trade volume growth fell to around 0.5% year-over-year in the first quarter, IMF reported, and likely worsened in the second.

Why it matters: Manufacturing is a relatively small portion of the U.S. economy, but it remains a lifeline for much of the rest of the world.

Driving the news: Eurozone manufacturing activity fell to its lowest in more than 11 years this month, according IHS Markit figures released this morning. That number follows a report out of Britain showing manufacturing orders in the second quarter falling to their lowest since 2009.

The big picture: Things are moving clearly and quickly negative. Manufacturing in 2 of the world's 3 largest economies — China and the eurozone — is contracting (at an unprecedented pace in the eurozone), with the U.S. hanging in positive territory by less than half a percent.

  • A global measure of the manufacturing industry from IHS Markit showed its weakest reading in nearly 7 years last month.
  • Emerging markets, responsible for most of the world's growth, also are beginning to slow notably, data from the Institute of International Finance shows, with analysts highlighting in a recent report that "deteriorating manufacturing sentiment is becoming more broad-based globally."

The U.S. is also in the midst of a transportation recession. Freight shipments across all modes of transportation — truck, rail, air and barge — fell 5.3% in June, the seventh month in a row of year-over-year declines, according to the Cass Freight Index for shipments.

Yes, but: Economists remain hopeful that things will turn because the slowdown seems largely the result of political decisions, rather than a fundamental loss of demand.

  • That may not mean much as there's no sign any of the world's economically damaging political decisions are reversing anytime soon.

Go deeper: The world can't afford a trade war right now

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
21 mins ago - Health

Overturning Roe could strain abortion access even in blue states

The Supreme Court is reflected in a woman's sunglasses during a march Oct. 2. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortions could be harder to access even in states where they remain legal, because those clinics could be flooded with patients from states that have cracked down.

The big picture: This has happened before, and clinics fear the crush of demand would be a major problem in the immediate wake of a decision that would allow states to ban abortion.

A critical race theory founder says he's being inundated with threats

Richard Delgado. Photo: Courtesy of Richard Delgado

Richard Delgado, one of the founders of the critical race theory movement, tells Axios he and his wife have been receiving a steady stream of threatening messages since the coordinated, conservative campaign against critical race theory began.

Why it matters: Educators across the country — even some elementary school teachers — have faced harassment and threats over the past year over lesson plans that teach about system racism in the U.S.

Burnout, money, concern drive Harris turnover

Vice President Kamala Harris and another potential 2024 presidential candidate, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, appeared together Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Burnout, better opportunities and concern about being permanently branded a "Harris person" is driving some of the turnover in Vice President Kamala Harris's office, people familiar with the situation tell Axios.

Why it matters: Harris is not only a heartbeat from the presidency but, by virtue of her office, the presumed 2024 frontrunner if President Biden doesn't seek re-election. There's been an inordinate amount of disarray — and, now, turnover — throughout her tenure.