☕️ Happy Friday!
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Cracks are beginning to show in a booming economy that's on pace for a 10th year of continuous growth, Axios markets reporter Courtenay Brown writes.
Key economic indicators are flashing red:
And U.S. economic growth is already slowing:
Forecasts are all over the map — but recession is a common theme.
Another concern is the Fed's series of interest rate hikes, which are pushing up prices and are a leading indicator of recession:
The White House says it has no plans to revise its GDP forecast of 3.5% this year and a bit above 3% in 2019.
Be smart: Growth is still healthy, but the economy is unquestionably slowing.
Beware of the polls in "a volatile environment where Trump has saturated every inch of our cultural fabric with politics," Snapchat's Peter Hamby writes for Vanity Fair's "Hive":
Why it matters: "Using past turnout patterns can be useful when modeling a universe of voters, but the polls cannot tell us with certainty what will happen on Election Day anymore."
Here's how President Trump, who takes pride in his branding, boiled down the midterms during his rally in Columbia, Mo. last night (peppered with "TIGERS FOR TRUMP" signs, in University of Missouri black and gold):
Jonathan Swan's thought bubble: Trump always paints groups of people — countries, companies, whatever he’s talking about — in black and white. He will blithely write off an entire group of people as "the worst" or "the enemy" or a threat to the country.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A child sleeps as members of the Central American caravan settle in for the night in an abandoned motel in Matias Romero Avendando, Mexico.
Clockwise from top left: Google's European headquarters in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA via AP); home base in Mountain View, Calif. (Noah Berger/AP); London (Tolga Akmen/AFP); New York (Bryan R. Smith/AFP)
"Thousands of Google workers walked out of offices around the world to protest how the tech giant has handled sexual misconduct by some of its top executives," per Bloomberg.
"The Congressional Black Caucus served notice Thursday that the influential group wants a black lawmaker to hold at least one of the House's two top Democratic jobs next year if Nancy Pelosi or other party leaders don't retain their posts in the new Congress," AP's Alan Fram writes.
Be smart ... Most likely outcome: Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn each move up — to Speaker, Majority Leader, Majority Whip.
Low-tech campaigning: "Quaint vs. quant" ... "In the big data era of politics, where campaigns are betting millions on software that can harvest hundreds of pieces of information about a single voter," a Democrat-led group called Postcards for Voters has mobilized 40,000 volunteers and sent 1.5 million handwritten postcards since September, the N.Y Times' Mike Tackett reports.
The Economist's lead editorial takes on "America divided":
"President Trump is going on the offensive against the oppressive regimes in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua — and he sees Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro as an ally in that quest, national security adviser John Bolton said in a speech [yesterday] in Miami," Axios World editor Dave Lawler writes.
Secret shopper scores shape customer service ... "Companies size up their customers by using data to generate a score, called customer lifetime value," The Wall Street Journal's Khadeeja Safdar reports (subscription):
Why it matters: "Your score can determine the prices you pay, the products and ads you see and the perks you receive."