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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The Rust Belt, the upper Midwest manufacturing hub that was the backbone of U.S. production, has seen jobs and wages erode under President Trump, new data shows — and the decline happened before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

What it means: "While job and wage growth continued nationally under Trump, extending trends that took root under President Obama, the country’s economic weight also continued shifting south and west, according to data from the U.S. Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages that was recently updated to include the first three months of 2020," Reuters' Howard Schneider writes.

  • "Across the industrial belt from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, private job growth from the first three months of 2017 through the first three months of 2020 lagged the rest of the country — with employment in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio growing 2% or less over that time compared to a 4.5% national average, according to QCEW data analyzed by Reuters."
  • "Texas and California saw job growth of more than 6% from 2017 through the start of 2020, by contrast, while Idaho led the nation with employment growing more than 10%."

A separate study by the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) analyzing economic well-being in five Midwestern swing states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio) found...

  • Among the counties that flipped from voting for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 to voting for Donald Trump in 2016, 61% are in relative economic decline.
  • Nearly all the rest are continuing economic gains that have been in place since 2000.

While the five states "are geographically close and culturally similar, they diverge sharply when it comes to economic well-being, with Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa being more affluent than Michigan and Ohio," EIG notes.

  • In four of the five states, counties that flipped were more likely to experience job growth than the typical county nationally from 2014 to 2018, but that trend reversed in 2018.
  • From the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2020, far fewer flipped counties added jobs than did so nationally across all the region’s swing states except Minnesota.
  • In Iowa, four out of five lost jobs, compared to under half nationally.

Go deeper

Data: Black voters propelled Democrats' Georgia victory

Data: Georgia Secretary of State; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden owes his upcoming Senate majority to game-changing turnout Tuesday by African American voters across Georgia, according to Axios’ analysis of state election data.

The big picture: Turnout in runoff elections usually pales in comparison to general elections. This time, in every Georgia county, the number of votes cast Tuesday was at least 80% of the turnout in November. In Randolph County, which is 62% Black, turnout was 96%.

Biden's two-step negotiating process

President Biden departs Geneva. Photo: Martial Trezzini/Pool/AFP via Getty

President Biden's summit "reset" was less about trying to make a friend out of Russia than reframing what the U.S. believes can be accomplished by engaging with President Vladimir Putin.

Driving the news: The Geneva meeting yielded no immediate breakthroughs beyond agreements about ambassadors returning to work and plans to launch talks on nuclear security. But in classic Biden fashion — aviators on, jacket off and a one-liner about invading Russia he had to clarify was a joke — the U.S. president used a post-summit news conference to explain his approach.

Scoop: NRCC to accept cryptocurrency donations

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Republicans' House campaign arm will begin accepting contributions in cryptocurrency, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The National Republican Congressional Committee is the first national party committee to solicit crypto donations. That puts it at the forefront of a disruptive financial technology that could test campaign finance rules.