Jul 6, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🏖️ Happy holiday Saturday! Does your best friend get AM? Invite 'em to sign up.

🎯 Situational awareness: A 7.1 earthquake struck Southern California last night, again centered near Ridgecrest, in Kern County — the second big shake in less than two days, "adding more jitters to an already nervous region." (L.A. Times)

  • “The odds that Southern California will experience another earthquake of magnitude 7 or greater in the next week are now nearly 11%, according to preliminary estimates from seismologists.”
1 big thing: A more inclusive jobs rebound

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Job prospects are finally rising for people of color, Axios markets reporter Courtenay Brown writes.

  • Why it matters: African-Americans, Hispanics, Latinx and others left behind are finally starting to reap rewards from the economic boom.

Driving the news: June's hiring surge calmed fears that the labor market is rapidly slowing down. But falling jobless rates haven’t caused the usual upswell in wages, and thus, inflation.

  • In a major shift, Fed Chair Jerome Powell and colleagues are hearing from community leaders at "Fed Listens" events.
  • Poor people and people of color tend to be "the first ones into the recession and the last ones out," Rachel Flum, executive director of the Economic Progress Institute, tells Axios.

One of the people who talked to the Fed in Chicago about the on-the-ground experience was Maurice Jones, CEO of Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

  • "For folks in the neighborhood that are disinvested or underinvested, the prolonged low unemployment is what gives them a chance to get jobs," Jones tells Axios.
  • "What we're getting now is businesses that are coming to us," because companies need employees.

Between the lines: The labor force participation rate for African-Americans — which counts both people with jobs and those who are actively looking for work — has been catching up to the labor force participation rate for white people at a rapid pace, reflecting optimism about prospects for employment.

  • Minority women in particular, the N.Y. Times notes, have started to notch gains in the labor market as the expansion continues.

But pay hasn't picked up much. Wage growth, which has accelerated in recent months, pales in comparison to previous economic expansions.

  • People of color are among the groups least likely to have recovered the money lost in the wake of the financial crisis, the WashPost points out.
  • And the unemployment rate for white people is still far lower than the rates for African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinx, though the gap has shrunk.

What’s next: The Fed’s next listening session will be July 16 in Atlanta, weeks before the Federal Open Market Committee convenes on July 30 for a highly anticipated meeting that may result in the first interest rate cut since 2008.

How it's playing ... Wall Street Journal lead story: "Jobs Report Allays Fear of Slowdown."

2. What Border Patrol custody looks like to a kid
Drawing: American Academy of Pediatrics via AP

In one drawing, stick figures sleep on the ground under blankets watched by other figures with hats, AP reports:

  • Another picture has frowning stick figures behind what appears to be a chain-link fence. One shows two toilets in a small room.
  • All of the drawings include jail-like bars covering most of the canvas.

The drawings were made by children at the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas, who were asked to depict their experiences in Border Patrol custody.

  • These three pictures, photographed by an American Academy of Pediatrics volunteer last week, were made by two 10-year-olds and an 11-year-old.
  • Two of them were from Guatemala; it wasn't clear where the third was from.
Both drawings: American Academy of Pediatrics via AP
3. New job: "Screen consultants" help harried parents

What's new: A "screen-free parenting coach" economy has sprung up around the country, the N.Y. Times' Nellie Bowles writes:

  • "Screen consultants come into homes, schools, churches and synagogues to remind parents how people parented before."

Why it matters: "Among affluent parents, fear of phones is rampant ... The wild look their kids have when they try to pry them off Fortnite is alarming."

  • "No one knows what screens will make of society, good or bad."
4. For Dems, a pre- and post-Reagan divide
President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the White House in November 1988. Photo: Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

"Haunted by the Reagan era ... Past defeats still scare older Democratic leaders — but not the younger generation," Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief of The Intercept, writes in the lead story of tomorrow's WashPost Outlook:

  • Democratic leaders like [Speaker] Pelosi, Joe Biden, Steny Hoyer and Chuck Schumer were shaped by their traumatic political coming-of-age during the breakup of the New Deal coalition ... and the backlash that swept Democrats so thoroughly from power nearly 40 years ago."
  • "The Ocasio-Cortezes of the world have witnessed the opposite: The way they see it, Democratic attempts to moderate and compromise have led to nothing but ruin. Republicans aren’t the ones to be afraid of."

🎂 P.S. Nancy Reagan would have turned 98 today.

5. What if science could bring a brain back to "life"?
Thomas Prior for The New York Times

Spoiler: It can.

"Scientists Are Giving Dead Brains New Life. What Could Go Wrong? In experiments on pig organs, scientists at Yale made a discovery that could someday challenge our understanding of what it means to die," Matthew Shaer, a writer at large for the N.Y. Times Magazine, reports in tomorrow's cover story:

In recent years, some scientists have moved from the study of the organic tissue to the wholesale creation of artificial brain matter.
Grown from human stem cells reprogrammed to act like neurons, brain organoids, or 'mini brains,' can mimic some of the functions of their biological counterparts — last year, for example, the biologist Alysson Muotri announced that his lab at the University of California had grown brain organoids with neurons that fired at a level consistent with that of a preterm infant.
Muotri has said he hopes to use the creations to research brain function and formulate disease models without buying lab animals or expensive specimens from brain banks.

How they do it.

6. Pic of the week: 15-year-old thrills Wimbledon
Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

Cori "Coco" Gauff, the 15-year-old from Delray Beach, Fla., pulled off a huge upset at Wimbledon's Centre Court yesterday, "a third-round thriller that saw her come back to beat Slovenian Polona Hercog 3-6, 7-6, 7-5," USA Today reports:

  • "After taking down Venus Williams in the first round and Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round — both in straight sets — Gauff had her back against the wall after losing the first set and trailing Hercog 5-2 in the second."
  • "Gauff advances to the fourth round to face [Romania's] Simona Halep on Monday."

Flashback: ESPN, Jan. 4, 2017 ... "Why 12-year-old Cori Gauff hopes she'll be the greatest of all time":

  • Her Instagram profile: "I am not going to be the next Serena Williams ... I am going to be the first Cori 'Coco' Gauff."
Mike Allen

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