Driver Priscille Hetzel inspects her bus before starting her route. Photo: Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

"For generations of Americans, working for a state or local government — as a teacher, firefighter, bus driver or nurse — provided a comfortable nook in the middle class," the N.Y. Times' Patricia Cohen and Robert Gebeloff write. But "[i]n recent years, ... the ranks of state and local employees have languished even as the populations they serve have grown. They now account for the smallest share of the American civilian work force since 1967."

Why it matters: "No less than automobile assembly lines and steel plants, the public sector ensured that even workers without a college education could afford a home, a minivan, movie nights and a family vacation."

  • "The 19.5 million workers who remain are finding themselves financially downgraded."
  • "Teachers who have been protesting low wages and sparse resources in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky — and those in Arizona who say they plan to walk out on Thursday — are just one thread in that larger skein."

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Eldon Johnson, 40, a state employee who cares for children with cerebral palsy and autism in Norman, Okla., eight hours a day, then works overnight at a better-paying private mental health center:

  • “There’s no way I could make it without a second job, unless I lived in a box, and maybe had a moped.”

Go deeper

Misinformation thrives on social media ahead of presidential debate

Joe Biden speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, on Sept. 27. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

A baseless conspiracy theory that Joe Biden would wear an electronic device in his ear during the first presidential debate on Tuesday went viral on social media hours before the event.

Why it matters: The conspiracy originated on social media before appearing in a text message sent by President Trump’s re-election campaign to supporters. It was then regurgitated by media outlets like Fox News and New York Post, who cited the Trump campaign, throughout the day, according to NBC News.

Appeals court upholds six-day extension for counting Wisconsin ballots

Photo: Derek R. Henkle/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that extended the deadline for counting mail-in ballots in Wisconsin until Nov. 9 as long as they are postmarked by the Nov. 3 election, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's a big win for Democrats that also means that the winner of Wisconsin, a key presidential swing state, may not be known for six days after the election. Republicans are likely to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, as the Pennsylvania GOP did after a similar ruling on Monday.

Go deeper: How the Supreme Court could decide the election

Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 33,489,205 — Total deaths: 1,004,278 — Total recoveries: 23,243,613Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m ET: 7,183,367 — Total deaths: 205,883 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  5. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  6. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  7. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic